Talk, the debut solo album from former Silverchair singer Daniel Johns, is a bold statement heralding the arrival of something he has been working toward for years. With the final Silverchair album, Young Modern, Johns attempted to distance himself from the '90s angst that popularized his band during grunge's heyday, combining Diorama's expansive rock sound with the cheeky pop heard on the Dissociatives project. However, neither ventured far enough to fully distance Johns from his past. With Talk, he's not only broken free, but sprinted into the unknown with soundscapes and beats from the future. Soulful opener "Aerial Love" declares "Oh, I'm ready.../Gonna pull it together/Change my old ways/Take a piece of the future," pumping like a heartbeat and setting the tone for the rest of the journey. The production here is rich. A lush R&B haze is provided by Joel Little (Lorde) on "Aerial Love," "Too Many," and "Warm Hands," which sound like they'd fit nicely on Sam Smith's debut, if it had been recorded in space. Julian Hamilton of the Presets brings clean pop hooks and a yearning urgency to "By Your Side" and "Dissolve." Australian hip-hop producers Styalz and M-Phazes combine Little's sheen with Hamilton's savvy on "Imagination," "Chained," and "Faithless." Despite the number of hands involved with Johns' vision of future pop (most evident on the exhilaratingly woozy "Going on 16"), the work is cohesive, ebbing and flowing as the grooves pulsate and Johns' lyrics of love and lust hypnotize. This is the sound of a grown man taking a stand, declaring his identity as an evolving artist in a new era. Unlike younger alt-R&B singers, Johns has both the industry and life experience to back the sexy with expertly crafted sonic statements.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung