"Craft" is the operative word on Talktin and Easy's debut album "All In Our Family of Trees". The summation of 3 years of work, this record comes from a group of musicians who took a moment to consciously pause, step away, and dedicate time to the development of their craft. Featuring members of Pacific NW underground-indie-groups SEACATS, Special Explosion, and The Oregon Donor; the members of Talktin and Easy took a break from the indie-rock hustle to make a concerted effort to elevate their craft of music-making.
Singer/writer Harry Smith has spent his working life as a house painter and finish carpenter, and the dedication to trade ingrained in him by his day-job shines through the lyrics. An almost meditative approach to detail is present in every line. Some verses call for quiet contemplation and time in order to be fully appreciated, while some hit you in the gut, the way good pop music is supposed to.
Despite the lofty intentions that can be obligatory to a “highbrow” project like this one, these songs still "pop!" Take the amount of care and craftsmanship typically applied to classical art forms such as poetry or painting, but apply it to our modern vessel of pop music. That is the vision for “All in Our Family of Trees.”
Musically, the band draws upon their small town upbringing as inspiration. Singer Harry Smith grew up in Anacortes, WA, a tiny Puget Sound Arts community that has had wide-ranging artistic influence regionally and nationally, thanks to groups like Mt. Eerie, Karl Blau, and The Lonely Forest. The stamp of Anacortes' musical pedigree is evident in both the sound and the attitude of Talktin and Easy. There is a small-town mindset of quality over quantity, and a knowledge of the inherent satisfaction received for completing a job to the best of one's ability.
The record functions thematically as a half-meditation, half-manifesto on family, love, creativity and society. One senses the narrator as optimistic, but also at a loss for how to untangle the mass of humanity's failings. But there is a through line of hope that carries the whole record through to its conclusion that makes it a revitalizing listen even in its darker moments.
“All In Our Family of Trees” is due out March of 2017. Starting in November, Talktin and Easy is releasing a new single from the record every three weeks.