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Talk Talk - Asides Besides  CD (album) cover


Talk Talk


Crossover Prog

2.45 | 12 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars The cover art says it all: a goose, a noose, a golden egg. This was a band being groomed for mainstream success, with the look, the sound, and the limited shelf-life of true Top-40 superstars. They had a couple of hits tailor-made for the mid-1980s, but then rebelled against their handlers in order to follow a more private muse, showing enough poise and sensitivity to eventually earn them a page on a web site devoted to the arcane, unfashionable backwaters of Progressive Rock.

The two distinct faces of that split personality are exploited in this equally schizoid compilation, with predictably mixed results. Disc One collects a majority of the band's extended singles and twelve-inch dance mixes (currently listed in the Progarchives database as twelve-foot mixes, heaven help us), while Disc Two is a grab bag of B-side demos and leftovers.

The full package traces a chronological arc around both ends of the band's doppelgänger career. But to an art-rock snob like me only the last half-dozen cuts off the second CD have any real merit, and to get there you'll have to wade through at least a full disc's worth of music designed to send metropolitan party animals into a Dionysian frenzy.

The band's evolution can almost be plotted by the sound of their drumming, from the 4/4 thud of their 1982 debut to the mature refinement of later epiphanies. It's a shame the track selection here is skewed more toward the former, but it really couldn't be helped: these guys were late bloomers, and their good stuff didn't exactly lend itself to the singles market.

I have enormous respect for Talk Talk, and their decision to commit retail suicide for the sake of higher art. That sort of integrity is rare enough in the real world, and almost nonexistent in the music industry. But on the evidence presented here it's a shame they didn't pull that commercial plug a little sooner.

Neu!mann | 2/5 |


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