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Talk Talk - The Party's Over CD (album) cover


Talk Talk


Crossover Prog

2.81 | 107 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars While many bands started out progressive (Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Franco Battiato just to name a few) only to then devolve into simpler catchy and often cheesy pop music, there were a few artists who actually did it all the other way around. While well into the 21st century the London based TALK TALK is much more renowned as having been the first band to develop the post-rock paradigm which would become its own distinct subgenre within the rock universe, in the beginning they emerged as a New Romantic synthpop band in the New Wave era of the 1980s. This band was started by Mark Hollis after leaving The Reaction who steered the band from their early New Wave origins to the pinnacle of their arty post-rock perfection culminating on 1991's "Laughing Stock."

In the beginning Hollis (vocals, guitar, piano), Lee Harris (drums) and Paul Webb (bass) created an early 80s sound that took the art rock approach of Roxy Music, the synthpop sound of bands like the Human League and married them with the New Romantic suaveness of bands like Spandau Ballet. Their debut THE PARTY'S OVER was early 80s New Wave in full raiment with glam rock slickness, catchy pop hooks and suave almost Chris Isaak like crooning. While they wouldn't break big until 1984's "It's My Life," their debut spawned the track "Talk Talk" which was a top 20 hit in the UK. The album was a huge success in New Zealand but was very much the debut they needed to launch their career into greener pastures.

THE PARTY'S OVER lays out nine slickly produced New Romantic synthpop tracks that deliver everything i love about the early 80s New Wave era, namely over-the-top catchy pop hooks, heavy emphasis on period synth attacks, passionately delivered vocals and hairspray enriched glam charm. In fact this is one of my favorite albums that is classified as synthpop. One of the strengths of TALK TALK which set them apart from the competition including the super popular Duran Duran with whom Hollis and company would tour, is the distinguished vocal abilities of Hollis and his wide range of vox box dynamics. Likewise while many bands relied on a simple drum machine beats set on metronomic mundaneness, Lee Harris employs some excellent percussive strategies that allow the otherwise similar tracks to develop distinct personalities. But melodically speaking there are plenty of standout tracks that display various styles of playing as well.

While there are few hints of the post-rock arenas that Hollis would eventually develop in the future, on THE PARTY'S OVER i enthusiastically admit that i'm quite enamored by well played synthpop from this particular era as it exudes everything pure cheese of the early MTV days that gave a renewed life to a style of music that by all rights should've died out about the time this album was released in 1982. While many post-rockers will write this off as uninspired pop, i personally am a fan of both styles that TALK TALK embraced and find the unique evolution from their early New Wave synthpop style to an incremental change into the post-rock extremely interesting however even if TALK TALK was never to go down in the history books as a musical innovator, if taken as a period piece pop album that THE PARTY'S OVER is, i have to admit that i love the hell outa this one. Little did this band know but THE PARTY WAS JUST BEGINNING!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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