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Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings and Food CD (album) cover


Talking Heads


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3.84 | 142 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars good pop/rock band , but absolutely NOTHING PROG, no matter what some would have you believe !!!

Second album from this NY quartet and a vast improvement upon their usually over-rated (by ultra-fans mostly) debut album, the weirdly More Songs About Building And Food saw them enter the classic pop realm, due in no small part to Brian Eno's production. Actually Brian plays such a big role in this album that he can be easily considered as TH's fifth member as he plays synths, piano, guitars (yessir!), percussion and even sings backing vocals. Coming with a relatively ugly Polaroid photo montage artwork (the back cover is much better), the album was recorded in the spring of 78 and released in the summer , again on the Sire label, but this time with greater notice from the specialized trendy press that was taking the piss on more complex musics. As you'll probably guess, Eno's paw on MSAB&F makes TH sound a fair bit like Roxy Music (the good RM, like in the first albums), but actually Byrne songwriting talents make TH a much better group than RM was at the same time, even if sometimes TH remained simplistic trendy pop. Right from the opening Thank You For, you can hear the gap between their previous album and this one, where the develops an embryonic form of their (future) African rhythms influences on some tracks (the subtle guitar on Good Thing and Found A Job), and the more-obvious Roxyan soundscapes on others like Not In Love or Stay Hungry. But there are times when TH are only sounding like TH, like the excellent Warning Sign, sometimes even leaving space for instrumental interplay (a bit rudimentary still), like on Artists Only.

It's a bit too bad that the album's best track is the cover of Al Green's Take Me To The River, which would become on of the staples of the TH's live sets, taking on an outstanding form with the live extended line-up version of the group. But there are enough other good tunes that MSAF&B is my third fave album after SiT and RiL.

The deluxe double-disc remastered version includes a bunch alternate versions of studio tracks from the album sessions, the first being an earlier version of Stay Hungry, all of them non-essential but not hindering with the disc's progress, but adding 0 supplementary value to the album. The second disc a mixed audio/video DVD, where the album gets a 5.1 audio mix and two film footage, the first being a good work-out version of Found A Job from a semi-packed NY concert hall, the other being a hand-held single camera shoot from an outdoor California concert of a sub-par Warning Sign. In both cases, the crowds are not exactly ecstatic as they would two years on, with the extended line-up. Don't get me wrong here, even with this good pop/rock album, we're light years away from a "prog" album, so you should move cautiously with this band on PA, because I cannot guarantee that a prog fan will automatically like it, even though it's brilliant at times.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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