Review: Close Talker stands their ground on “How Do We Stay Here?”


Chloe Baker

On Aug. 30, indie rock band Close Talker released their fourth studio album, titled “How Do We Stay Here?”

Morgan Vehige, Asst. Editor

Sometimes I feel like finding new music is harder than ever these days. Music is everywhere, from Spotify’s release radar to an earbud being shoved into our ear by a friend with strange music taste. There are a million ways to find new music—and that’s just the problem. Why find new music when we could just let it come to us?

So in an effort to find new music, I scrolled through Spotify with my eyes closed and picked a random genre. Unfortunately for me, it landed on my least favorite genre, indie. 

One band stuck out though—Close Talker. They’re an indie rock band from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, and released their latest album, “How Do We Stay Here?” on Aug. 30. 

The album has a total of 11 songs. While most of them have a similar sound, they strike individually in the most unsuspecting of ways.

“Void,” the first track on the album, hooks in the listener with calming aesthetics and leaves them to wonder what is coming next. “Always come back to me” are the only discernible words sung throughout the song, but they leave a haunting impression. 

“Void” does not have a clear ending or message, but leads directly into the album’s next song, “Wait.” It’s an upbeat continuation of “Void” and it tells a story of a longing relationship. The steady bass contrasts the song’s questioning lyrics. “I’m not sure if this is something that I want, but I want you” is repeated over the bridge, reiterating the idea of a longing and promising relationship.

“The Change It Brings” was one of the album’s pre-released singles. With an odd mix of synthetic sounds, steady drum beats and layered melodies, this song delivers the album’s clearest message: “change comes for the worse and for the better,” a phrase that repeats throughout the majority of the song and hits a little closer to the heart each time. 

The other single on “How Do We Stay Here?” is “Arm’s Length.” It tells the story of a relationship where one person won’t let the other get closer, no matter how much the other person longs for it. The song is more guitar-heavy than others, crescendoing until it fades away at the end of the song, leaving an empty, sinking feeling. 

Fifth on the album, “Pace” is the only song that feels more rock than indie (it is also the only song that mentions the album’s title). The instruments drown out the song’s lyrics, but the message is clear—people move at their own pace, and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

“Wandering” picks up after “Pace.” Close Talker sets this song halfway through the album, and it’s evident why. “Pace” gives a break from the album’s deep thought and focuses on soothing instrumentals and minimalistic, whispered lyrics. 

The following song, “Half Past Nine,” is the band’s most-streamed song on Spotify, for good reason. The smooth guitar over a heavy beat grabs the listener’s attention and allows for them to zone in on the highly relatable lyrics. It’s about the moments that stick with someone forever and is shown through lyrics like “this will be a story when I talk about the good old times”. The timeless song has a heavy build to its inevitable end before finally fading out. 

“Carefully in the Dark” is, in my view, one of the better songs on the album. It’s more aggressive and captures specific emotions about how life can be carefree and wonderful until something comes along that makes everyone stop and be cautious. In this song, the guitar and bass meld together beautifully yet hauntingly.

Clocking in at just under two minutes, “The Lake by the Hotel” is the album’s shortest song. Like “Void” and “Wandering,” it’s an instrument-heavy piece that provokes thought and serenity for the listener.

“All Time” is the most lyric-driven song on the album, and it is very similar thematically to “Half Past Nine”: life is crazy and wild, but it’s necessary to take fun and run with it. The message the lyrics send is reinforced by melodies and heavy instrumentals near the end. 

The final song on the album, “Refuge,” carries a large, reflective tone. It repeats the one audible line from the first song, “Void”, but changes the last word—instead of “always come back to me,” it’s now “always come back to this.” The careful melodies that are built throughout the song die out at the song’s midpoint, but are reborn again through the instruments, which leaves the listener wanting more and satisfied, all at the same time.

Overall, this is not a bad album. It tells a beautiful story through haunting lyrics and melodies, with amazing instrumental production backing it. However, some of the songs are just a bit odd and generally vague. The album is definitely for those who have a specific music type of indie rock they like—and that just isn’t me. I am glad that I tried something new, and I look forward to seeing what Close Talker does next.

Final rating: 7 out of 10