The Faim – ‘Talk Talk’ review: arena ambition and ’80s swagger meets vulnerable storytelling

The Perth four-piece once looked like the future of pop-punk. Now, they're after something more

After working with Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus and Twenty One Pilots’ Josh Dun, The Faim debuted in 2019 with an album, ‘State Of Mind’, that primed them to be the future of pop-punk long before the genre made its mainstream comeback.

Three years later, a resurgence led by Travis Barker, Machine Gun Kelly and Olivia Rodrigo has made pop-punk cool once more. But The Faim don’t seem to want to repeat themselves or chase trends. Their second album ‘Talk Talk’ is an effortlessly cool, emotionally compelling record that mixes arena ambition with vulnerable storytelling.

With its ’80s pop swagger, ‘Talk Talk’ is a bold reinvention for the Perth four-piece, but they sound so comfortable on tracks like ‘Jealous Love’ or ‘The Alchemist’ that it never feels like they’re chancing things.

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Opener ‘Madly, Badly, Fixed’ is a soaring indie anthem, designed to kickstart moshpits and send pints flying with rapid-fire lyrics and urgent guitar riffs. The buoyant, escapist ‘The Hills’ feels like a fiery hit of adrenaline.

The Faim do have one eye on their pop-punk roots: ‘Ease My Mind’ is a snarling beast of a track while ‘Life In A Cinema’ sees the band take that classic 2000s sound and twist it into something progressive, playful and powerful without losing their endearing sense of self.

As brilliant as those uptempo tracks are, The Faim are at their best when they’re pushing boundaries. ‘Faith In Me’ has all the confident Las Vegas razzle-dazzle of recent Panic! At The Disco (and the impressive vocal range to match) while the electro disco stomp of ‘Me Because Of You’ is both fearless and feel-good.

The Faim have always been a conscious rock band with compassionate lyrics about mental illness, loneliness and community. But on ‘Talk Talk’, vocalist Josh Raven pushes that vulnerability further. ‘Flowers’ might feature several wailing guitar solos but its scrappy coming-of-age narrative demands the spotlight.

The sleek ‘You (And My Addiction)’ is a wide-eyed ode to longing (“I’ve got 11 missed calls but I just want yours“) while closing track ‘ERA’ is a slow-burning celebration of perseverance as the band look forward to the future, whatever it may hold: “Though we’ve made mistakes / Done things we cannot change / We’d go and do it all again,” sings Raven.

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The Faim have every right to be excited about what’s to come. Like the very best bands to come out of the pop-punk scene, they’ve evolved beyond the cliches of the genre on ‘Talk Talk’ while keeping their heart-on-the-sleeve honesty and desire to have a good time. It still feels like a rebellious party, but The Faim are throwing it on their own terms.

Details

  • Release date: July 8
  • Record label: BMG
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