Photo: EMRO Photography (Emma Cintorino)

Introducing: Talking Points

Meet Long Island's brightest new musical prospects

When the boys of Talking Points, a Long Island, NY-based five-piece, were gearing up to release their debut single “Lost It” near the end of last year, the expectations were that of any other local start-up. Of any other group of rambunctious early 20-somethings who played covers of The 1975 and Kings Of Leon at college gigs. The expectation was fun… passable… amateur. The result was anything but.

“Lost It,” while not without its imperfections, is an excellent debut single. The track is a YA-geared summer alt-pop jam about an immediate infatuation featuring stacks of gang vocals to emphasize the college party feel: “I left my place without you / I won’t go back without two pillows on my bed / Keys on the ledge / Thoughts in my head tonight / Feel it underneath your fingertips / Never thought that you would get a grip like this.”

Who are Talking Points?

The band consists of long-time friends Jack Pilon (lead vocals & guitar), Nico Cianciulli (drums), Andrew Lomonaco (keys & vocals), James Giambalvo (bass), and Nick Riedel (guitar & vocals). (Giambalvo was not present for this interview). Pilon, a Cornell grad now pursuing his master’s degree in law at Villanova University, is slightly overzealous on occasion vocally, but is generally incredibly skilled. In “Lost It,” he executes healthy flips from chest to head voice in the verses, a solid mid-range low tenor in the chorus, and, overall, a gorgeous, natural tone that exists without years of prodding from classical instructors.

Following “Lost It,” which has amassed over 400,000 streams in under a year, the band released “Last Licks” this past August and “Boomerang,” their newest, out now.

From the beginning 

The journey to success with “Lost It” was no easy task for the group. Internal doubts regarding the song’s viability and potential with little to no pre-release promo were on the mind, but first, they had to finish it. “We recorded the song in August and it didn’t come out until December, so that should say something about how we felt about the song,” said Lomonaco. “We’re all perfectionists… we spent hours and hours trying to perfect something that was there to everyone else but us. That shows our character… the type of kids we are and the kind of music we like to make.”

Once they had the song, they had to find an audience for it. “’Lost It’ by nature is a very fun, upbeat happy song that has indie rock elements, but it’s not aggressive,” said Pilon. “It has a good vibe that resonates with college-aged people, but I think that’s more a byproduct of us listening to that kind of music and basing what we do off of what we like. I don’t think we necessarily had a target… a lot of our friends from college recently graduated and a lot are juniors and seniors, showing their friends. I think that gives us a little bit of urgency… we have a good year or two where, if we’re going to do something, this is where we have to strike.”

“Like tryna teach an old dog new tricks.”

They followed up with the less commercial yet more musically niche “Last Licks,” a clear favorite amongst the group. Pilon says that, while less singable than “Lost It,” he is excited by the prospect of already being able to deviate from the typical pop format. Cianciulli calls it more “dynamically expressive.” “When people came up to talk about the song, they said, ‘It sounds like you guys,’” said Lomonaco. “That was really big. For someone to even say that, it was like, ‘Oh, you paid attention.’ They liked the music so much that it meant something to them. Even the idea of it… knowing it was from us.”

“Boomerang”

“Boomerang,” which landed on Spotify’s New Rock Hits playlist over the weekend, is the band’s best tune thus far. It starts off sounding like a replica of Niall Horan’s Heartbreak Weather track “No Judgement,” then veers off into a more jam-session-like space: “Swimming in the deep end so cold, won’t you throw me a rope? Pull me in close, make me forget the words that you spoke.”

Pilon’s vocals on this opening line shift from a darker, closed tone on the word “cold” to a brighter, poppier tone on “me.” He does this throughout the track, about a manipulative love pulling the strings but one he can’t bring himself to let go of: “Aah-ooh-ooh-oohhhhh /Finding a reason to moveeeeee, on / Feel it fall to the ground / Build me up, I’ll see you around / Oh, love, I’ll see you around.”

Collectively, the band feels that each of their individual musical influences can be heard throughout the track. All five members have curated playlists to their name on the Talking Points Spotify profile, giving insight into their individual palettes. When asked about a specific musical North Star, Pilon cited The Beach Boys, Lomonaco tapped Dave Grohl, Cianciulli praised Sam Fender, and Riedel recognized Ben Folds.

The Nucleus 

As the group navigates the possibilities of what could come from a career in music, Pilon has played a major role in the band’s early social media presence, booking opportunities, and more. “Jack is the heart and soul… the nucleus of this band,” said Cianciulli. “He does a lot of the heavy lifting behind the scenes… so that we can just do our thing musically. He gives us a lot of room to where we can just flesh out ideas and express what we want to express.” “Jack definitely does the most to help us try and market,” said Lomonaco. “He is always coming up with TikTok ideas and Instagram posts to push out our songs. Anything to get some traction.” Pilon, of course, would not accept that credit, instead diverting warranted praise to other members for their ability to write solid melodies, chord progressions, and overall musical ability.

Learning and Growing 

When probed on a possible arc or theme for a debut EP or album, Riedel, who called in midway through the interview, seemed to express interest in answering. Upon being prompted to do so, he seemed taken aback. “I don’t know… I didn’t think we’d get this far,” he said with a true sense of whimsicalness, before pausing to give a genuine answer. “Subconsciously and thematically, I think a lot of our songs talk about lost time. About things moving ahead at a rapid pace because that’s how life feels at this age. A lot of our songs have been becoming that.”

The organic humor of Riedel’s first answer, and the collective laughter that followed it, is infectious. Talking Points is a group of young, hungry artists who want to grab any brass ring available to them, but want to have fun while doing it. They want it to be about the music. About learning and growing together. This is a band capable of doing that, and they are just getting started.

Stream “Lost It,” “Last Licks,” and “Boomerang”: