By Edward Burnett
I had the pleasure of interviewing English band TxtTalk back in February when they were promoting their single, ‘Hollywood’. The interview was a fun chat which gave a real insight into the bands methods which you can read here. The boys from Hastings are back on our radar again with the recent release of the follow-up single ‘Head Out’. This release is a groovy and chilled track that combines numerous genres with aspects of funk, dance and even reggae beats all featuring. This combination results in the ultimate chill-out song for Summer 2021. Yet as fabulous a sequel as ‘Head Out’ is, I’m here to talk about ‘Hollywood’. Now that I’ve had a couple of months to truly ponder on this song, I find myself loving it more and more, truly thinking that this is a top, top track. I feel this single release succeeds in all three areas of discussion: theme/lyrics, tune/music and artwork.
Starting with the lyrics and tale of TxtTalk’s ‘Hollywood’, the song discusses the themes of stardom and how just maybe it’s not all what it’s cracked up to be. These are important messages to be being delivered by a smaller and upcoming band. It’s a unilateral message of keeping one’s head screwed on and not getting caught up in the glitz and glamour that comes with success in the entertainment industry. Falling into that trap can famously (mind the pun, I know, I know) lead individuals to stray from the beliefs and style that got them to the pearly heights in the first place. This message can clearly be shown in the track’s chorus as the boys sing “Cause this is Hollywood/And I bet you've never felt this good/You've got to give yourself/Brand your soul for someone else”. Here there’s the sarcastic jibe about how you’ve achieved the golden dream that everyone strives for, you must be feeling amazing? This question is satirically posed with the asker knowing full well that you don’t feel amazing as you’ve no doubt had to sell parts of yourself to get into the scenario, shown by the soul branding imagery. Few bands not only address this particular important topic in their music and even less would be so bold as to focus on it on an early single. TxtTalk deserve massive commendation for not only doing this but for doing it so effectively and stylishly.
To achieve this style though, the tune of the song has to be as crisp as the unique topic. The music itself on the single we are now talking about is therefore the core of the release and ultimately the way in which the band can convey the all important message featured in their lyrics. The track is bouncy and pop heavy but unmistakably indie. Therein lies the perfection melodically. This positive and fast paced tune allows the listeners to zoom along the song without seeing the time instead being lost in its fun and funky attitude. The single never goes too heavy either despite the at times depressing topic of losing who you are, rather TxtTalk maintain an upbeat melody throughout ensuring the stardom paradox is fulfilled via the musical notes themselves. Yes it sounds so fun and happy but in reality what is being sung is deeply sad when thought about. The fact the band can convey the overall theme of the song via the music itself rather than just the lyrics is an immense feat which demands recognition.
Finally, the artwork on this single is truly beautiful with the massive canvas do inter-sprawling characters and Hollywood references all culminating in a Where’s Wally-esque image. The picture was drawn up by friend of the band Zak Comyns and Zak’s creative work really isn’t lost on the band either. The guys said about it that “there’s a lot of references in the artwork, from the Church of Scientology to Marilyn Monroe, it's really cool to take a closer look at”. To have a young band so committed to putting out quality album covers alongside of course the amazing music within, is a real treat.
All in all, ‘Hollywood’ is a stupendous single full-stop, let alone when considered it’s been released from an upcoming band. With mature topics and a truly fresh tune which is all wrapped up with a gorgeous and clean-cut artwork cover, the listeners are well and truly given the full package. This is indie music in its prime and the UK industry should feel very proud to have a talented band like TxtTalk firmly on the way up. Already following up this gem with the great ‘Head Out’, the boys from Hastings genuinely have a glittering career ahead of them. After a review like that, I bet they’ve never felt so good. I’ll see myself out.
If you would like to find out more about TxtTalk and keep up to date with the band's latest releases, the links to all their socials can be found below via the icons: