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Talk Talk - Spirit Of Eden CD (album) cover

SPIRIT OF EDEN

Talk Talk

 

Crossover Prog

4.14 | 357 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This is when the talking stops.. .

If "Colours of spring" offered a tantalising glimpse of the way Talk Talk would metamorphose from a pop band to a prog band, "Spirit of Eden" is the album which captures the completion of that transition. As with the previous album, Mark Hollis and Tim Friese-Greene are joined by a grand collection of artists, this time including a number of classical musicians and a choir.

There are just six tracks here, a firm indication of the way the songs are structured and executed. The first track "The rainbow" starts in barely perceptible fashion, with soft ambient sounds. These lead to a (relative) burst of vocals from Mark Hollis. It quickly becomes apparent that the synth driven pop sounds which were starting to be kept in check on "Colours of spring" have now been eradicated. Instead Hollis and Tim Friese-Greene rely on organ, piano and guitar for the main instrumentation. Other colours are added by the impressive array of supporting musicians, including a harmonica solo by Mark Feltham, but the atmosphere is predominantly one of understatement.

The first three tracks actually blend together to form a 22+ minute suite, "The rainbow", "Eden" and "Desire" all having the same pace and atmosphere. Hollis intersperses occasional vocals with considered instrumental phases and slow but defined rhythms. Occasionally things will suddenly get louder (a style Porcupine Tree would later develop), but such excursions are notable as the exceptions.

"Inheritance" is slightly more upbeat, but only in relative terms, the song remaining essentially melancholy. With a reversal of song title from the previous album, "I believe in you" is the most accessible song here. The wonderful organ sounds and melodic drifts from the choir combine with Hollis vocals to form an enchanting piece. The album closes with "Wealth", a song which brings us full circle back to the minimalist mood of the start.

For me Talk Talk peaked with "The colour of spring". While this is one of the most atmospheric albums I have come across, I find myself occasionally frustrated by just how understated it is. That said, it would be churlish to overlook crediting Mark Hollis and Tim Friese-Greene with having the courage to take the band away from the lure of commercialism and into decidedly non-commercial areas. This is still a fine album by any standards, and one which will particularly appeal to many prog fans.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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