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


Talk Talk


Crossover Prog

2.81 | 107 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars This really should be a 2.5 so as to be above my ranking for It's My Life, which I consider the weakest of the three pop/pop-like albums. However, the description of "Collectors/Fans Only" fits this album. I think that if you liked their last three albums and are interested in their past, then you really should get this, but if you're averse to the sound of 80s synth pop, then don't go to the trouble of ordering it. Personally, I think this is very good pop...but then I truly like the sound of the 80s, all the way from PINK FLOYD's Momentary Lapse of Reason to TALK TALK's The Party's Over.

As the previous reviewer pointed out, the bassist, PAUL WEBB, is really something else. His snappy style reminds me of BRIAN ENO's work on the Talking Heads' album Remain in Light, or of Tony Levin, or even DAVID GILMOUR when it comes to his fretless bass work (I kept thinking of his solo album About Face as I listened to The Party's Over)--but he also does some excellent fretless bass work that stands out throughout the album. As I prepared my notes for the review, I can barely count the number of times I wrote some note about the basslines, on songs including "Talk Talk" itself, "Today", "The Party's Over", "Have You Heard the News?", and "Candy". I was genuinely surprised to get his excellent playing along with the beautiful singing and poetic lyrics that I have come to expect from MARK HOLLIS (and which he delivered quite nicely here).

The lyrics are certainly not what you might be accustomed to expecting from music with a pop sound and are, to my mind, indicative of TALK TALK's future; they are most definitely of HOLLIS' abstracted, poetic, and often spiritual style, such as on "The Party's Over" and "Hate". Unfortunately, sometimes HOLLIS can be difficult to understand without the written lyrics--and in a few cases the songs were ruined by overkill with the drum machine and some stupid "Oh, oh, oh!" sounding things that thankfully would be gone by the time Colour of Spring rolled around.

Probably four tracks stand out as excellent, if you do not mind pop: "The Party's Over" proper is probably the absolute best one; HOLLIS proves here he really knows how to use his voice to good effect, and what I also noticed about the song was how well- structured it is. Clocking in at 6 minutes, making it by far the longest song on the album, it's also very well developed, with the two tempo changes placed in such a way as to really accentuate the momentum of the song. You almost want a full orchestra to back this one, not just the synths (which I really do not mind, as they give a rich atmosphere to the song). Following this one is the closing track "Candy". Don't let the title fool you; this downtempo number worked out very well. With the drum machine backing off, the pianist SIMON BRENNER gets time to add some tastefully-chosen work to this song, and at one point a real snare-drum march provides an interlude that gives a bit more life to this song, as well as proving that the band did have an ear for structuring songs even at an early stage. If you can handle the synths and some of the parts of 80s pop that irritate some people, two other songs stand out as excellent: "Mirror Man", where piano work sneaks in right at the end to provide a delicate touch to the outro, and "Have You Heard the News?" where bassist PAUL WEBB is having a field day.

In conclusion, I do think anybody genuinely interested in the history of TALK TALK and who likes 80s pop should try this because this is well-produced pop with better-than-average lyric writing and more of HOLLIS' vocals in the vein of Colour of Spring--as well as the pleasant surprise of PAUL WEBB's quality basswork. I recommend this one over their patchier sophomore album It's My Life where some serious mistakes were made with the synths (stuff that truly sticks out as bad...whereas this one used the synths well even if you don't like the particular sounds). If you don't fit these criteria, then this is not for you.

FloydWright | 2/5 |


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