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Talk Talk

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Talk Talk The Party's Over album cover
2.83 | 137 ratings | 16 reviews | 5% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Talk Talk (3:23)
2. It's So Serious (3:21)
3. Today (3:30)
4. The Party's Over (6:12)
5. Hate (3:58)
6. Have You Heard the News? (5:07)
7. Mirror Man (3:21)
8. Another World (3:14)
9. Candy (4:41)

Total Time: 35:56

Line-up / Musicians

- Mark Hollis / vocals
- Simon Brenner / keyboards
- Paul Webb / bass
- Lee Harris / drums

Releases information

ArtWork: James Marsh with Bill Smith (design)

LP EMI ‎- EMC 3413 (1982, UK)

CD EMI ‎- CDP 7463662 (1987, UK)
CD EMI ‎- RETALK 100 (1997, Europe) Remastered by Denis Blackham and Phill Brown)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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TALK TALK The Party's Over ratings distribution

(137 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(5%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (26%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

TALK TALK The Party's Over reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by FloydWright
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.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars As a progressive band, these guys need to be more accurately assessed for their last three studio albums. For a release from 1982 this debut album from Talk Talk must be better defined as atypical 80's romantic synth pop. Ever heard of the great China Crisis, Ultravox or the not so great Duran Duran? If you have that will give you an idea of what these songs are about and what sounds to expect.Overall not a bad album the highlights would have to be ' The Party's Over' and ' Another World'. Anyone buying back catalogues of Talk Talk material would need to be serious collectors to thoroughly enjoy this.
Review by Prog-jester
3 stars Mostly a fan-only release. Those who look for PROGGYNESS in TALK TALK's debut will be disappointed. Nothing wrong - a solid 80s new wave/synth-pop stuff with hits like "Talk Talk" (a catchy one!Like it!) and "The Party's Over" (good ballad). Don't look for guitars here, and don't stuck to primitive rhythms and cliches - this is not Prog, I'm telling you (though one may notice a similarity between early mainstream Neo-Prog bands and this album) ! Nevertheless it's a very good and nostalgic (though I ain't belong to 80s spiritually - I was 4 when they ended!) record, recommended to that era fans. I've already experienced later TALK TALK albums, and they're certainly closer to what one may call Experimental Pop Music, but this one deserves to be heard too - but beware, this is NOT PROG !!!
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The debut album from Talk Talk can´t be of much interest for prog fans, but does have lots of nice eighties keyboard sounds if you are a keyboard freak. This is eighties synth pop in the vein of Depeche Mode and New Order. What makes Talk Talk different from other bands in that genre is that they evolved into a very special prog rock band starting on their third release The Colour of Spring.

This album is made out of melancholic synth pop songs though with Mark Hollis characteristic vocals. There are some pretty great songs on here if you´re into this genre like Talk Talk and Today which I find pretty charming. The album gets a bit trivial towards the end though, and that´s always a bad sign when the album is only 35 minutes long. A bit more variation would have been nice. The production is very rich and good for the time.

This album should hold no interest for prog heads and only a nostalgic interest for someone like me who likes the music and therefore this is a 2 star album, not bad at all, just not prog material at all.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Actually, the party has only just started

Those, like myself, who did not know better, will have been surprised to find Talk Talk listed on this site, and appearing under a prog category. Superficially, Talk Talk are perceived as a band from the 1980's who made a few pleasant pop songs, then disappeared. The reality however is refreshingly reassuring. Contrary to the path taken by some other prog bands (no names required), Talk Talk developed their prog credentials over a period of time, by developing their significant skills as creators of fine pop into something far more sophisticated, and indeed challenging.

We should not get ahead of ourselves though, for this album constitutes Talk Talk's first release. It is of course impossible to talk about Talk Talk without mentioning the unique talents of Mark Hollis. Hollis may nominally be merely the lead vocalist, but he is also the band leader and principal songwriter. This allows him to craft his songs around his supremely atmospheric and melodic voice.

At this stage, I do need to temper some expectations. As made clear above, Talk Talk gradually moved into prog. This took some time to achieve, and in all honesty it did not start here. "The party's over" is a well put together sophisticated pop album for the 1980's. Unlike other artists who moved in a similar field though (such as Godley and Crème), Talk Talk managed to avoid the pitfalls of trying to be too clever. The music here may be largely unchallenging, but it is straightforward and honest.

The band name is unusually, but not particularly imaginatively, taken from the first track on the album. There are many bands from the 80's who ploughed the electronic furrow who come to mind when listening to the song; Spandau Ballet, Tears for Fears, and Depeche Mode are three of the more familiar ones. The song sets the tone for the album, which is simply a succession of well presented pop numbers. Hollis' voice certainly sets the songs apart from their peers, and while the synth sounds hardly push any boundaries, they are melodic and appealing.

Some songs are more obvious candidates for singles, "Today" being one of Talk Talk's best known hits. The hit potential is however entirely down to the hook adopted on the track. Structurally, the songs are all from the same mould.

Those who are serious about investigating the history of this great band must start here, and follow their progress through each succeeding album.

The remastered CD version of "The party's over" sounds excellent. At a mere 35 minutes running time though, and with no additional tracks, it is all too brief. Perhaps the opportunity should have been taken to combine the album with the following "It's my life" onto a single disc.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars As for "Japan", I was very surprised of the inclusion of "Talk Talk" on PA.

To me, this band had more to do with the synth pop genre than with the prog one. And to be inserted within the cross-over style is rather a mystery. There are virtually no songs featured which have the closest link with prog music.

"Tchack boum, tchack boum" almost all the way through even if I admit, I must have danced on such songs in the early eighties. Mea culpa.

This album is holding pleasant electro pop (at best) songs so typical of the eighties. They are pop and (at times) catchy. But it is hard to find a single second of prog in here. Anyway, whatever the style you would consider this album, there are very few good songs available.

The title track, maybe. If you are able to make abstraction of the mellowish Hollis vocals. But let's be honest, we are not talking of a great song and the whole of this debut album is not really worth.

This album is extremely short, which shows a significant lack of creativity: just a snapshot of the music offered in the early eighties. By no means prog, at best: average. This album is not deserving more than two stars IMHHO. Out of context on a prog site.

If you need to be convinced, just listen to "Hate". Another title which fits perfectly well my feeling about it. I wonder why "Duran Duran" didn't make their entry on PA.

"Mirror man" is fully on par.Weak, weak, weak.

Two stars. A weak album. A desert of prog music.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Before they had anything remotely prog related going on, Talk Talk was an 80's romantic synth-pop band who's influences can be traced back to Japan, Ultravox, Duran Duran and many others. The more commercial offshoot of the post punk generation.

While the main bulk of this album is hard to sit through, there's an inherent charm about some of these songs though, especially Talk Talk is a pleasant opener and one of the better of the many upbeat bubblegum synth-pop songs here. The Party's Over is equally straightforward and inoffensive in its arrangement but one cannot ignore the song writing qualities of this band and the startling poignant vocals of Mark Hollis. Just like all post punk, this stuff has loads of atmosphere, obviously. Also Have You Heard the News and Candy are an interesting listen for lovers of atmospheric rock songs.

Review by Dobermensch
4 stars Probably the most 'unprog' album in the entire archive. Ian Hollis sounds like a Bryan Ferry doppelganger on this release. Even the way in which he bares his teeth in the promotional videos reminds me of early 80's Ferry.

That aside, this debut album is a superb piece of synth pop. Very catchy tunes and LOADS of synths and non acoustic sounding drums. God knows how this ended up in the archives. I suppose you can't have their later more Prog albums listed without the earlier ones too.

'Talk Talk' is a very uplifting, tuneful and pacey little album which is perfect for cycling to. It's well produced with perfect recording levels throughout. But goodness me, they really are derivative of their contemporaries, such as Japan, Duran Duran and Roxy Music. No tune more more so than the best track 'Today' with it's fretless Mick Karn bass. This is perfect 'pop' music with no clunkers at all, with a smooth floating feel throughout. Suits me fine - I love all that nonsense!

An excellent release which Prog lovers will hate with a passion. Avoid at all costs!

A bit of trivia and a challenge to readers - this is one of only 3 albums I've ever heard where the band name, the album title and a track on the album all have the same name. There's one in the Prog Archives. Any ideas?

Review by Matti
2 stars This debut album is probably one of the least proggy albums in the Archives. Yes, this is 'New Romantic' synth pop of the early 80's, comparable to bands like Ultravox, ABC or early Simple Minds. They did have a sound of their own within the genre, though surely it would be less so if they wouldn't have had the personal voice of Mark Hollis, but unfortunately their gradual progress to be something else, leading all the way to Post-Rock pioneer albums of Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock (1988, 1990) didn't quite start here yet. The sound is outdated in a typical manner for the era; flat, hollow and plastic.

The mood of the album is in minor key (the later term shoegazing fits well), and if we exclude the uptempo single songs 'Talk Talk' or 'Today', some songs do have an atmosphere not so radically different of TALK TALK's better output, but the realization of those - admittedly few - good ideas is not very succesful. Why they chose to play rather typical-sounding synth pop, did they want so much to be part of the musical fashion of the day, following in the steps of Duran Duran etc? Also the band photos of those times suggest that they did.

I had this vinyl in '87 for a short time (it was my third purchase of TALK TALK) and haven't been missing it at all. At least a couple of songs I have forgotten completely, but there's one song I've happily conquered back (from a compilation) that was my favourite from this album already then: 'Have You Heard the News?' It has a sad, strong mood and even the sneaking synth melody works effectively. But the whole album hasn't sood the test of time that well. Unless you really want to have each of their albums (there are not so many after all) you can safely ignore this one.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars While many bands started out progressive (Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Franco Battiato just to name a few) only to then devolve into simpler catchy and often cheesy pop music, there were a few artists who actually did it all the other way around. While well into the 21st century the London based TALK TALK is much more renowned as having been the first band to develop the post-rock paradigm which would become its own distinct subgenre within the rock universe, in the beginning they emerged as a New Romantic synthpop band in the New Wave era of the 1980s. This band was started by Mark Hollis after leaving The Reaction who steered the band from their early New Wave origins to the pinnacle of their arty post-rock perfection culminating on 1991's "Laughing Stock."

In the beginning Hollis (vocals, guitar, piano), Lee Harris (drums) and Paul Webb (bass) created an early 80s sound that took the art rock approach of Roxy Music, the synthpop sound of bands like the Human League and married them with the New Romantic suaveness of bands like Spandau Ballet. Their debut THE PARTY'S OVER was early 80s New Wave in full raiment with glam rock slickness, catchy pop hooks and suave almost Chris Isaak like crooning. While they wouldn't break big until 1984's "It's My Life," their debut spawned the track "Talk Talk" which was a top 20 hit in the UK. The album was a huge success in New Zealand but was very much the debut they needed to launch their career into greener pastures.

THE PARTY'S OVER lays out nine slickly produced New Romantic synthpop tracks that deliver everything i love about the early 80s New Wave era, namely over-the-top catchy pop hooks, heavy emphasis on period synth attacks, passionately delivered vocals and hairspray enriched glam charm. In fact this is one of my favorite albums that is classified as synthpop. One of the strengths of TALK TALK which set them apart from the competition including the super popular Duran Duran with whom Hollis and company would tour, is the distinguished vocal abilities of Hollis and his wide range of vox box dynamics. Likewise while many bands relied on a simple drum machine beats set on metronomic mundaneness, Lee Harris employs some excellent percussive strategies that allow the otherwise similar tracks to develop distinct personalities. But melodically speaking there are plenty of standout tracks that display various styles of playing as well.

While there are few hints of the post-rock arenas that Hollis would eventually develop in the future, on THE PARTY'S OVER i enthusiastically admit that i'm quite enamored by well played synthpop from this particular era as it exudes everything pure cheese of the early MTV days that gave a renewed life to a style of music that by all rights should've died out about the time this album was released in 1982. While many post-rockers will write this off as uninspired pop, i personally am a fan of both styles that TALK TALK embraced and find the unique evolution from their early New Wave synthpop style to an incremental change into the post-rock extremely interesting however even if TALK TALK was never to go down in the history books as a musical innovator, if taken as a period piece pop album that THE PARTY'S OVER is, i have to admit that i love the hell outa this one. Little did this band know but THE PARTY WAS JUST BEGINNING!

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars Do we have to comment an album for its music of for its proggyness? In the second case, let's start saying that this album doesn't contain anything even remotely progressive. Imagine Bryan FERRY singing with ULTRAVOX and you'll have an idea. Well, we have JAPAN on this site which despite having been home of David SYLVIAN were even less progressive than TALK TALK. So is it a prog album? No. Should it be for this release only, I wouldn't understand why this band is featured here. Surprisingly their last two albums deserved them a place, and it's only thanks to PA if I happened to listen to them.

Is this a bad album? Surely not. It's a standardized 80s sound, but there are some musical ideas (and I confess I like Ultravox enough), This doesn't mean that it's bad. When they don't think to make danceable music, like in "The Party's Over", they are quite enjoyable. And if you aren't looking for prog, this can be a nice background to your activity.

There's some fretless bass on "Hate", but it was normal in the 80s. Two years after this album CAMEL's Stationary Traveller will have plenty of fretless. The choir has also a strange similarity with BOWIE's "Labyrinth" .

I think the worst aspect of music in the 80s was the "search for modern sound", as they were actually used to call it, but it resulted in an excessive standardization: Yamaha DX7, Fretless Bass, Drone or just electronic Drums and deep voice in David BOWIE's style. The Talk Talk debut doesn't miss any of those aspects.

This album is on PA only because the band later released something more in line with the site's requirements. If you are looking for prog, this is the wrong album.

Not bad anyway.

Review by jamesbaldwin
3 stars First album of this Scottish band, who soon became well known in Italy.

We are in the perimeter of new romantic music crossing synth-pop (bad sound of the drums, no guitar, only percussion, keayboards and vocals) and the one and only peculiarity of Talk Talk is the dramatic voice by Mark Hollis, the front-man and leader and main composer.

1. Talk Talk (3:23) is a good synth -pop, with a sustained rhythm, enthralling. The climax is reached in the instrumental part, with piano (Brenner) and bass (Paul Webb), then come Hollis' voice and the percussions (Harris). Rating 7,5.

2. It's So Serious (3:21) is another potential pop single, with a catchy chorus but the song become soon too repetitive. Rating 7.

3. Today (3:30) is the third song with a catchy melody: at this point this album looks like a collection of singles with which to climb the ranking. This time, however, the electronic sound is more sophisticated, and Hollis' voice together with the dark, almost gothic atmosphere and the rhythmic progression reaches a peak of the Talk Talk production and makes Today a small commercial masterpiece. Rating 8+.

4. The Party's Over (6:12) is the first variation: not just a commercial song long 3 minutes but a keyboard ballad of 6 minutes. This time the rhythm and the mood is more melancholic. the song stands on the same melancholy mood from start to finish, only that as time goes by, the volume rises, the intensity of Hollis' voice becomes bigger and more dramatic and desperate. Long final fading tail. Rating 8.

End of Side A.

5. Hate (3:58) is supported by a tribal rhythm, thanks to the deafening percussion, it is the most aggressive song on the album, with a very powerful chorus, maybe too much noise. Rated 7,5 /8.

6. Have You Heard the News? (5:07) is slow pop ballad, with a good melody, dominated by the keyboards. Rating 8.

7. Mirror Man (3:21) is a melodic but rhythmic, conventional, repetitive pop song, perhaps the lowest point of the album. Rating 6+.

8. Another World (3:14) is a rhythmic song, based on keyboards, commercial easy listening, but good grip, however, it is repetetive near the end: another minor song. Rating 6,5.

9. Candy (4:41) Song written by Hollis alone, it has a nice game of percussion and bass, the Simple Minds are around the corner. The intensity of Hollis' voice and the skill of the arrangements make it a good track. Rating 7.5 / 8.

With this song ends an album that has nothing taken from prog, but represents the starting point of an extraordinary band, which still has Brenner on keyboards, and half of the songs composed by the whole group: Hollis will take complete domination with Friese- Greene after the second album.

This debut record is very good, medium quality of the songs:7,44. Rating album: 7,5/8.

Three Stars.

Review by Menswear
4 stars Smarter than the average band.

In the ProgArchives description it says that Talk Talk started as a 'typical synthpop band'. Typical? Typical?!! No no, Hollis and crew are not typical. Spandau Ballet is typical, Duran Duran is typical, Depeche Mode and Human League are typical. But with this band, there is a higher ambition, a deeper need to make to go elsewhere, even in their early work. They clearly work on a different pace, a sadder one. Another thing that makes them part from the others is that they don't wear their catchy choruses ad nauseum and stretch a song for the sake of repeating the hooks; Pet Shop Boys should've taken notes.

Okay, they do follow the Ultravox and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (which is okay for me) but the musicianship is (like the latter two) stellar. Talk Talk does have a super singer, a super drummer and an even more super bass player (that impeccable fretless work). Pop songs? Yes, but smartly put together; the title song, Hate and Candy are clearly an emotional punch in the stomach and maybe Mirror Man is the only dud in this.

Simmons drums, Yamaha keyboards and Stingray bass are a plenty but so cleverly put together, it's not just a typical album of synthpop. It's a super start to a weird career that kept evolving to become an entire new band. Instead of listening to Rio or Hungry like the Wolf for the gazillion time, take time to know Talk Talk's synth phase, it's sadder but soothing also.

Talk Talk does not have a bad album in any phase you listen (oh and that art cover! Sublime!)

Latest members reviews

3 stars If I were to hear this album for the first time, I would consider this to be at most a mediocre synth-pop record. Knowing that better is coming, I started looking for signs of the future on this record but actually not find any. However, if you already like the new romance I would rather recommend D ... (read more)

Report this review (#2489592) | Posted by koje7714 | Saturday, January 2, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars First of all, this album is not prog rock at all, so any prog lover will absolutely hate this album. The music is pure early 80s synthpop... but it is good synthpop. Some songs are fast paced and commercial, some others are slow paced and more emotional. Not an excellent addition to any prog m ... (read more)

Report this review (#75793) | Posted by zaxx | Friday, April 21, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Welcome to every Talk Talk´s world beginer!!! First of all: Who said Talk Talk has anything to do with progRock???. Come on!!! Talk Talk is considered many things but ProgRock, ranging from Electronica (which is not a bad pick) to folk art rock (I do support this one!). Talk Talk is ma ... (read more)

Report this review (#31114) | Posted by | Thursday, November 25, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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