Like nearly 50 percent of the music covered on this Web site (just an estimate, I didn’t actually bother counting), Takka Takka’s Migration was recorded in a studio in Brooklyn. And like 97 percent of albums recorded in Brooklyn (I’m probably undershooting a bit here), Migration is, at its heart, and indie rock record. But Migration, true to its name, has something of a globe-trotting spirit, a multi-national pool of influences that adds some international flavor to their rock sound. Exotic enough to set Takka Takka comfortably apart from the crowd and accessibly pop enough not to find its way into a hippie drum circle, Migration is an exciting entry in an ongoing series of indie rock albums that look well beyond Pavement and Built to Spill for ideas.
Where peers like Yeasayer bring to mind Lindsey Buckingham or Vampire Weekend might do likewise with Paul Simon, Takka Takka is an interesting case in that they sound very little like those who came before. Yet Takka Takka does have a bit of an atmospheric new age vibe, much like Yeasayer, or more accurately Peter Gabriel. Yet the way in which the blend of world rhythms, ambient textures and pop structures comes together in a different manner, with excessive exotica downplayed in favor of a good melody. Suffice to say, there are plenty of those on Migration.
“Homebreaker” is a fun little curiosity, opening with a softer ambient sound before breaking loose into a short-lived but no less sweet funk pop song. Opener “Monkey Forest Road” hypnotically blends effects-laden vocals and clacking percussion in a track that builds and intensifies, with driving beats roaring beneath a clean but commanding guitar. More straightforward, yet no less stunning is “Silence,” which throbs like recent Spoon, only with the sophisticated demeanor of The National. And, maybe it’s just me, but the breezy pop of “The Takers” sounds a bit like Broken Social Scene’s “7/4 (Shoreline)” but in 4/4, and yes, that’s definitely a good thing.
That Migration doesn’t belong to one place or one style makes it all the more appealing to weary ears. There’s a universal spirit, with bits and pieces of various styles—indie pop, folk, funk, ambient—not to mention a fair amount of cross-continental pollination, and most importantly, a dozen songs built upon great melodies. Sit back and close your eyes and just maybe Takka Takka will take you somewhere you never expected.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.