Hearth & the Hive
'The Hearth and the Hive' is the long-awaited follow-up to Talis's first full studio album, 'Archetype Cafe', and it's clear that in the intervening years Talis's writing has broadened considerably. Here are politics, true, but here too is Elizabeth David stirring the pot, a mermaid at the bottom of the garden, and a host of quirky takes on environmentalism and the way we live now... or in the near future. In the inlay, Talis says "Climate change. Peak oil. Either make a compelling case for change. Together they are the twin catastrophes between which we hope to steer a course." She nails her colours to the mast, but she also takes us through the history of the London Stock Exchange, why Leonardo da Vinci should be cheerful, and what happens when we leave the responsibility for everything to the great mythical 'they'. As we would expect from Talis. Her lyrics are full of sly references and clever lines, but they always make sure we're in on the joke, and the music alone would make her music worth hearing even without the finely-crafted narratives at which she excels. Talis never once beats her listeners up with polemic, as she could so easily do if she chose. Instead, she steps alongside you and shows you with humour and affection things you were afraid to look at, before. And then she gives you the courage to face them.