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Talk Talk - Laughing Stock CD (album) cover


Talk Talk


Crossover Prog

3.96 | 302 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I digged Talk Talk already before they changed direction into more avant-garde style (though in fact there wasn't any dramatic, sudden turn: Colour of Spring already had moments basically similar to what was to come), but the two last studio albums really increased my appreciation. Later, Mark Hollis has made a solo in the same style but it left me cold. It reached the point too minimalistic to me - and I bet many rock listeners would think the same about Laughing Stock or its predecessor. This is ART! Not art for art's sake but a truly individual, thoroughly matured musical & poetical expression that gives a deep and exciting listening experience, yet perhaps to a relatively narrow audience.

'Myrrham' starts the album in a meditative way without a rhythm and with Hollis' depressed vocals as equal part of the sound scenery. The next tracks, on the contrary, build around percussion and steady rhythm. The album's sound carpet combines rock instruments and chamber music instruments, mainly viola and cello. There are no clear melodic soli, instead it's like a sonic landscape that gradually changes as one walks in it. I feel no loss of direction or strength even in its more boring parts.

There are two tracks nearing ten minutes; they are not progressive compositions but sort of wall-paper music - I use the term positively here - in which the length is trivial: principally, could be either half shorter or twice as long, but anyway I feel this whole album measured exactly right. The element of space is a crucial part of it all. The vocals are often difficult to catch (just as the hand-written prints of them are difficult to read) but that actually only increases the shamanistic, meditative nature of it.

I listen to this album quite rarely but each time I do, I more or less love it. And I find it very difficult to describe (even with a long-lasting writing session I'm afraid I've been shooting in the dark); maybe it has some fragile aura which could be harmed with more active listening. ___ The trusted James Marsh cover art is among his (=Talk Talk's) best: exotic birds covering the 'continents' of a globe-like tree.

Matti | 4/5 |


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