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Mark Hollis - Mark Hollis CD (album) cover


Mark Hollis


Crossover Prog

3.84 | 51 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Talk (Talk) among yourselves

At time of writing, this looks like being Mark Hollis's only solo album. It took him some seven years after winding up Talk Talk to deliver this album in 1998, and he has since "retired" from the music scene once again.

The absence of long time music partner Tim Friese-Greene does not alter the fact that this is effectively a final Talk Talk album. This self titled release (reportedly originally to be named "Mountains of the Moon") is a natural successor to the last album to bear the band name, retaining much of the inaccessible and minimalist qualities which defined Talk Talk's twilight years.

The opening track, "The colour of spring" did not actually appear on the Talk Talk album of that name. It is a sparse piano and vocal piece which allows Hollis the space to demonstrate the power and emotion of his voice. Even when a more defined rhythm is established on the harmonica based "Watershed", the atmosphere remains reflective and moody.

And that pretty much describes the album as a whole. Hollis uses a variety of carefully selected sounds to support his unique vocal style, while always retaining the same dark moods. There is no standout track as such, simply because the tracks on the album blend seamlessly to form a whole. It may sound one-dimensional, and it is hard to deny that is what it is. The question really is, does that dimension work for you?

In cold technical terms, the song-writing here is rudimentary, both lyrically and in terms of melodies. Hollis relies entirely on his ability to paint sonic landscapes, while conveying emotion in immense quantities. For some, this will be an album to savour and revere, for others it will be a trudge through a barren void. For me, it sits somewhere in-between. In the right mood, I can sit back and let the sounds simply wash over me. On other occasions, I find myself yearning for something more substantial.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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