The latest Typhoon record Offerings is a haunting portrayal of tortured character experiencing the wrath of darkness. It completely commits to shattering the delicate hearts of those who appreciate the nuances of this complicated band. Typhoon is a generous buffet of talent with a total of 11 members who are all essentially prodigies at their instruments. The reside in the ever musically evolving city of Portland, Oregon. This is Typhoon’s first full length record in four years and certainty their most complex. One would argue it’s one of the most complex albums in general in several years. The 70-minute record doesn’t reel out of its intensity for even a second.
Some of the inspiration for Offerings derives from lead singer and songwriter’s Kyle Morton’s experience with “losing it” which is certainly palpable throughout the emotionally generous record. Offerings is also motivated by various literature and films that Morton immersed himself in throughout the making of the album. Morton is especially enthralled in Fellini, Lynch and Nolan films along with a handful of books that he states made for a much darker album.
Offerings is divided into four movements; Floodplains, Flood, Reckoning and The Afterparty. It is based around a character experiencing unexpected chaos and eventually yields to his terrible destiny. Morton explains, “I wanted this character to be a journey, like Dante’s Inferno. It kicks off with the track “Wake”, where the character wakes up and he’s shitting the bed and doesn’t know what’s going on.”
Morton is also inspired by the likes of the brilliant Irish playwright and novelist Samuel Beckett whom he was reading heavily while writing the lyrics for Offerings. Morton states, “Beckett would call it a literature of impoverishment where he’d strip away as much as he could get a feeling of essence and scarcity; that’s what I tried to do musically and lyrically here.
The character goes through a series of dystopian and eerily relatable experiences throughout the record. You follow this person through an intensive look at emotional turmoil and frustration towards the collapse of meaning during the age of information. It feels deliberately claustrophobic, creepy and severe. You can almost feel the walls closing in as you get lost in the layers of the story. The music is incredibly intricate and careful, not unlike the Icelandic masterminds Sigur Rós.
Offerings is rich with inspiration from other literate including the short story Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes which is one of Morton’s favourite bodies of work. The protagonist of Offerings struggles with the sense of cognitive dissonance throughout the whole record. The seemingly last track “ Sleep” is a profound portrayal of sacrificing oneself. This is followed with the secret track “Afterparty” that celebrates the sense of freedom and peace on the other side of this wild journey. To say the album flirts with death is an understatement.
Records like Offerings rarely come out and when they do they deserve the same meticulous attention to detail that went into it. Morton astutely states, “if I could write my one line review of the record, I think I would want people to say it’s disturbing and unfortunately correct.” Well Morton, you completely nailed it.