The first time I saw Typhoon, around 2006, they looked like the kids from Lord of the Flies after
a few weeks on the island. Unkempt, new to the big city, exploding with excitement to play for
anyone, anywhere. In basements and back-room all-ages clubs that might as well have been
basements, they already knew how to rattle bones, jerk tears and turn stomachs--that all came
I don’t know how self-aware they were then. I don’t know if they really knew the power of the
sheer spectacle of ten kids flooding a space like an uprising of feral choir students. I know they
didn’t seem too self-assured. During the quiet parts they would sway against each other, some
biting their lips and some staring at their shoes while frontman Kyle Morton strummed a guitar
half his size. Nervous jokes were often cracked amongst the horn section. And then the chorus
would hit and they would intuitively become this single, heart-rending noise that didn’t sound like
anything else. More metal than all but the gnarliest metal; still sweet and unflinchingly honest.
They weren’t kids in those moments, they were pure weaponized humanity.
For a long time I thought the secret ingredient was youth--that the urgency of being 19 and
having something to say just permeated Typhoon’s songs and made them feel vital. They were,
after all, the kids who couldn’t get enough. They were the kids you’d see cross-legged in the
front row of the Mount Eerie show, wide-eyed. But Typhoon has grown up without letting go of
their earnesty or their urgency. The band has gotten smarter, sharper, less reliant on spectacle.
Typhoon has pared down a bit (eight members at last count), though old members still make
appearances onstage and are often strewn about the green room after hometown shows, when
shows aren’t so hard to come by.
As time has gone by, Kyle Morton has slowly become one of his generation’s most profound
and nuanced songwriters. He has also learned how to run a band that once seemed
unmanageable. Typhoon’s secret instrument of hearts and hollers bubbling up in loose unison,
though, that still works just the same way. Maybe it works because this band is still interrogating
the same complicated hallways of the human heart that it started with.
- Casey Jarman
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