Typhoon is a band built out of contradictions. The eleven-piece Portland, Oregon, supergroup is both wild and tightly structured, punk and symphonic. Frontman Kyle Morton’s lyrics are concerned primarily with death, but Typhoon’s songs are resoundingly triumphant. The truth is that the band, formed by high school friends who somewhat miraculously overcame the interpersonal challenges and logistical nightmares of keeping a project of this scale intact to full maturity, was just built that way. It starts with Morton, whose significant battles with illness have left him at times struggling with meaning. “You can consider it one very bewildered man’s attempt to explain the universe, to himself, in the language of bewilderment,” he says of Typhoon’s music.
Typhoon’s debut Tender Loving Empire full-length, Hunger and Thirst, is a jaw-dropping concept album that fuses folk forms with classical elements and occasional outbursts of metal. It doesn’t work on paper, but on vinyl it is monumental. Follow-up EP A New Kind Of House features the hit song “The Honest Truth,” which placed third on Paste’s list of the 50 Best Songs of 2011. Sophomore full-length White Lighter, the band’s most cohesive and stunning release to date, was released in 2013 on Roll Call Records. “When we started working on White Lighter, I had reason to believe that it would be the last thing I ever did,” Morton said after the album’s completion. “I’m still here and there’s still work to be done.”