Aaron Reece, whom you might know as the guitarist in Dempsey or the former guitarist in Rare Creatures, has recently released a solo album called Talons under the project name Spacey Dude. Talons is a collection of loose, guitar-oriented electronic rock songs that for the most part doesn’t take itself too seriously. The sound is something like industrial bedroom pop, tossed together in whatever salad Aaron was feeling at the time.
Opener “Like Dominos” introduces the record’s production themes of booming industrial bass tones paired with spaced-out guitar, a modern and sometimes futuristic sound. “Like Dominos” may be the most thumping song on the record, but it sets the tone, in terms of production style, some of the elements we can expect to hear throughout the album.
The second song, “Winter Fires” is the main reason why I said the music doesn’t take itself too seriously. I can picture Aaron in his bedroom studio laughing while recording and listening back to those overdubbed vocals. They don’t sound bad, per say, but they are extremely goofy, and tell the listener that this album isn’t something that you should have to dig into to understand; it’s just fun, experimental music, that at times does touch moments of clarity. You get more of these goofy vocals at points throughout the rest of the album, but you can hear them prominently on “Winter Fires” and again later on “I.L.Y.T.D”.
The standout track on Talons for me is “I Wish My Friends Ate Breakfast”, which is the most straightforward and simplistic song on the album. The songwriting is surprisingly poignant in comparison to the rest of Talons, and the music grabs a melody right away that is carried forward by the lyrics. With a very Pavement-esque style, complete with dystopian existential dread, “I Wish My Friends Ate Breakfast” is a song about self-acceptance and growth in the face of the most desolate conditions. It’s not a happy song, and it’s not particularly fun, but it does have a positive message and it does hit you right in the chest. Let’s hear more like this one, Aaron.
“I Just” is another track that stands out on Talons, but this time it’s not for poignant lyricism. This time it’s for that funky guitar riff that walks right up and introduces itself at the beginning of the song. It just says “follow me”, and away you go, off on a dirty ride through industrial bedroom funk-ville. I’m also hesitant to bring in a Rare Creatures comparison, but I’d bet Coleman Sawyer would pay good money to use that guitar riff on the next Rare Creatures album.
Overall, Talons is a worthwhile listen as the debut solo project from a musician who has always had an interesting style with his other bands. It’s fun and it doesn’t try too hard, but it also totally rips when it needs to. Listen below.