(True-Blue) The debut EP from pop-minded sextet Partials focuses thematically on society’s relationship with machines. The title itself means “speaking in tongues,” and throughout the record, by way of song titles and lyrics alike, language provides a connective tissue between the buzzing and whirring of electronic automatons and the flesh and blood of humankind. What’s more striking here than the clear thread between messaging, though and more supportive of the concept as a whole—is the band’s balance of synthetic and organic elements, which results in a tight, dynamically arranged six-song collection.
That equilibrium is on full display in the certified banger of an opening track, “Fear of Silence,” where a pulsating synth bass, steady kick drum and the clack of auxiliary percussion lay the groundwork for singer Adriana Thomas’ lyrical juxtapositions. She sings of being “silent and dead” while trying to “keep myself alive,” before the introduction of an angular riff split between two guitars propels the song into its invigorating chorus.
The funk and Afrobeat influences present make Talking Heads a go-to reference point, but contemporaries like Foals, Sylvan Esso and Lucius provide more appropriate models for how an “alternative” band like Partials could utilize its potential and find crossover success in the modern day. Comparisons aside, though, Glossolalia is a thrilling listen that should translate easily across audiences.
Like what you just read? Support Flagpole by making a donation today. Every dollar you give helps fund our ongoing mission to provide Athens with quality, independent journalism.