+1There seems to be some decent songs in there but they're all hidden by the instrumental meanderings over on top
(from this article - Talk Talk: the band who disappeared from view)Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock are shrouded in mystery, partly because that's the way they are built, but also because the people who made the records are reluctant to discuss them. Talk Talk's singer and creative mastermind Mark Hollis hasn't released any music since 1998 and doesn't interact with the media, while his co-writer and producer Tim Friese-Greene politely but firmly declined an interview on the grounds that "I don't talk Talk Talk talk any more. It was such a long time ago." Former band members Lee Harris and Paul Webb also observe a dutiful vow of silence these days.
Phill Brown is a little more forthcoming. Brown engineered Spirit of Eden and recalls an "endlessly blacked-out studio, an oil projector in the control room, strobe lighting and five 24-track tape-machines synced together. Twelve hours a day in the dark listening to the same six songs for eight months became pretty intense. There was very little communication with musicians who came in to play. They were led to a studio in darkness and a track would be played down the headphones." Asked whether Hollis is an awkward genius or a regular Joe, Brown replies: "All of the above! Stubborn, focused, but humorous. In some ways a genius, but it was a team effort – and it was a big, talented team."
Great post as always @scutter .I really like this. Its 4/5 from me. I gave Wu-Tang 4/5 too, but that was 3.5/5 rounded up. This is proper 4/5 though.
I've spent much of the last 5 days listening to Talk Talk. Mostly this album, but I was curious to hear the albums either side of it. For one, because I wanted to hear more by this band that I'm liking increasingly, the more I hear them. And two, because I wanted to see if there was any sense of logical progression that would give context to Spirit of Eden, that might have it make more sense.
Its a strange album. When I first listened to it I had it on in the background. I remember being conscious of the slow build-up in the first song, but how it finally kicks off and gets going. At that point I looked to see how far into the song it was and realised I was on the third song.
A few listens in it started feeling like the album was made up of 2 distinct parts. Those first 3 songs, definitely the stronger of the 6, and the last 3, which were a struggle.
A few more listens and I'm loving the first 3 songs. The delicate build up, the way they settle into a tempo, but then that tempo changes, the quiet synths, the harmonica, the loud guitar, the whiny vocal. Lovely. I'm reminded of so many different songs and albums when I listen. The band/album I'm most reminded of initially is Ten by Pearl Jam. Its got that Americana feel to it. I like how sprawling the opening song is. It reminds me of Second Coming by Stone Roses and Primal Scream's Vanishing Point. Not that the sound is similar. Just, both of those albums have the same kind of sprawling opening tracks. The tempo changes across those first 3 songs remind me a little of 'Shine on You Crazy Diamond', by Pink Floyd, again, probably a bizzare comparison - but thats what came to mind.
The last 3 songs are definitely more subtle. The guitars disappear. As does the harmonica. The synths take over. The percussion becomes gentler. The songs become more difficult to tell apart. I listened to to the last 3 songs without listening to the first 3, about 5 times in a row to try and get my head around them. They're nice, but they're difficult. Too long for how little happens to keep one's attention for the duration.
After listening to the album from start to finish I can't help but feeling a little bit short-changed. There's something about it that leaves one a tad unsatisfied. Maybe its because the promise of the first 3 songs aren't carried out in the last 3. Maybe its that it feels too short (and it does feel very short to me).
Its a proper musicians album though. Its clear to me that theres another level that I'm never likely to get. According to wikipedia it did pretty lousy in the charts. Number 19 in the UK in 1988 might not have been terrible but would also not be considered a commercial success. The number 3 that it reached in Belgium was also unlikely to satisfy the record company.
I love this;
(from this article - Talk Talk: the band who disappeared from view)
Hollis was clearly a bit odd but there is no trace of arrogance. I love that he went with his convictions and took the music in a direction he wanted to take it, and made the albums he wanted to make. I listened to Laughing Stock this morning. It doesn't sound terribly different to this one. And he released it under a different label, EMI clearly losing the rag after Spirit of Eden. That defiance is refreshing and its not something you'd see a lot of these days.
Everything I read about Talk Talk (and Hollis) makes me like them more and I look forward to getting rightly stuck into the first few albums. Without having heard some of them yet, I think I want to own physical copies of them too.
Thankfully, finally, I've gotten around to listening to Talk Talk properly.
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