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Talking Heads - Little Creatures CD (album) cover


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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It might come as a surprise after my review of Speaking In Tongues, but I happen to really like Little Creatures! Make no mistake, this is not an album in the same league as Talking Heads' debut album, More Songs About Building And Food or Remain In Light, still there is a definite creative vibe here that makes it just as good as Fear Of Music!

Little Creatures is simply a fun little album that probably won't go down in history as one of Talking Heads' biggest highlights but at least it definitely has great music on it without trying to hide sloppy musicianship by drowning it in layers of effects, like it was done on Speaking In Tongues. The sound of this album is very stripped down with most songs consisting almost entirely of the rock instrument arrangements, which were also present on the band's first two albums. This, by no means, implies a return to roots of any sort since the raw energy of the early albums is no longer here and is now substituted by sleek production and perfectly balanced compositions that sound as if they have been perfected to the smallest detail.

Another great thing about Little Creatures is that it actually has Talking Heads singles that I happen to really love. And She Was starts off with David Byrne shouting "Hey!" and the music kicks right in with a smooth and stripped-down sound that haven't been heard since More Songs About Building And Food. I really love the progression of these songs, even if most of them basically follow the simple verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/verse/chorus structure. Everything from the soft touches of the guitar, the upbeat sound of the drums to David Byrne's vocals tell me that the band is having fun with this material and that's all that matters to me!

Even if I find the lyrical content of many of these songs to be too simplistic, even by Talking Heads' standards, it doesn't bother me all that much as long as the music is arranged this well. Little Creatures is easily the most accessible album in the band's discography, but I wouldn't call it a good introduction to Talking Heads since this material is far from the style that the band depicted on their previous records. Start with Talking Heads 77' and work your way chronologically from there and pick up this album once you've reached Remain In Light and feel like exploring more!

***** star songs: And She Was (3:38) Give Me Back My Name (3:20) Road To Nowhere (4:19)

**** star songs: Creatures Of Love (4:14) The Lady Don't Mind (3:59) Perfect World (4:27) Stay Up Late (3:42) Television Man (6:10)

*** star songs: Walk It Down (4:43)

Report this review (#298178)
Posted Thursday, September 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 1985 and the follow up to the excellent and energetic Speaking In Tongues. At the time it was hard visualizing what the next TH project would sound like so initially the more stripped out, leaner sound was a bit of a surprise. While the preceding release was a mixed, complex percussive rambler with frenzied hooks, the minimalist Little Creatures actually turns out to be a more than solid offering and proved that some bands, even upon reaching creative peaks can still readily produce the goods.

The album kicks off with the likeable and rocking " And She Was" which also climaxes with a really great guitar riff. Get up and boogie people it is a very happy dance number. The theme of the album is loosley structured around humans and their behavioural patterns, little kids etc as zany and quirky as TH can get. " Give Me Back My Name" is quite a downer of a song but " Creatures Of Love" is clever, has a great chorus and you can sense the band is really enjoying themselves. " The Lady Don't Mind" one of the singles off the album is one of their finest ever released and again the stripped out sound and solid drumming from Chris Frantz gives the groove a special feel," Perfect World" which plays out side one of the vinyl became another strong hit as did the closing almost Country and Western " Road To Nowhere". There is an element of Southern Gospel to the backing vocals too which works a treat. One can sense the " True Stories" idea beginning to take hold. The second side holds up equally well if not even better with the thumping " Television Man" and " Walk It Down" as Byrne delivers his missives with such passion you cannot ignore the irony behind the lyrics. Excellently delivered and their last great album. They had truly run out of creative ideas after this.

Report this review (#301706)
Posted Saturday, October 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Heading for the showers

I supposed it had to happen sometime, but ten years or so into their adventure something changed in Talking Heads that led to creative decline, though the extent of the decline is subject to debate. After the live powerhouse of 'Stop Making Sense' the band hit the showers and dried off musically. The band lost their sweat and their collective groove. Whereas the live show was the height of ecstasy and asshaking, 'Little Creatures' was sitting in the lounge chair on the sun porch enjoying a lemonade and sugar wafers. Nothing wrong with such toe-tappers of course unless you happen to like the intense buzz of the previous work. I'm guessing there was some band tension in this period and what was emerging was a band sound much more David, much more accessible, much breezier.

Like all good ear candy how good it is ultimately falls on how great we consider the songs. 'And She Was' is not a good start, a really flat single which just lays there aside from the short section of guitar that drags its sorry butt across the finish line. There are some wonderful moments however dotting this less than consistent affair. 'Road to Nowhere' and 'Creatures of Love' show a real knack for catchy choruses and vocal arrangements. Road is very cool with the opening harmonies that soar into a march-like beat. 'Perfect World' is a gem combining the smooth, lovely chorus with a grasp back to their funky sound in the guitar and bass. But Creatures is a new Talking Heads, a short lived one this time, who would begin to morph into the adult-pop of the David Byrne solo career.

It is a well crafted and often fun bunch of pop songs certainly worth checking out for Heads fans. But it's not the place to start. For while it may be pointless or unfair to compare it to their best moments, most would agree there are far more intriguing Heads albums for proggers to investigate. Despite a few good songs I can't quite rate the overall experience such.

Report this review (#423341)
Posted Saturday, March 26, 2011 | Review Permalink

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