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Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings and Food CD (album) cover


Talking Heads


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3.84 | 142 ratings

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4 stars If any one impression stood out for me the first time I listened to this album, it's this: "Man, these guys can be DORKS." I mean, take something like "The Good Thing" - good melody, but a really plinky sound, and what is WITH lines like, "As we economise, efficiency is multiplied"? Gah!

Fortunately, the album has plenty of strengths to make up for the occasional bursts of dorkitude. The best news of all is that Eno is onboard as producer. This means, as in all of Eno's best work, that the sound is both one that cannot naturally be created "live", and at the same time one that never feels technophilian or artificial. In this case, the main augmentation comes to the guitars - the guitar patterns on the debut may have been clever and somewhat innovative, but they were nonetheless limited by the fact that they were from just two people playing with few overdubs. Here, though, these two-man innovative patterns are combined with goodness knows how many overdubs of themselves, but instead of making the sound bigger a la Phil Spector, Eno keeps the guitar sound relatively contained but makes the sound go nuts within that containment. All sorts of ever-chugging rhythmic insanities occur on this album, making sissy guitar tones seem cool in their own way. In any case, if you're a big fan of the sound of Talking Heads, this will have a good chance at being your favorite Heads album, if only because that sound is just totally omnipresent.

Alas, as great as the sound is, only about half of the songs stand out significantly for me. "With Our Love" and "Found a Job" are, to me, the best examples of the Heads' sound here (best as in "most good," not as in "quintessential"). The former, aside from the guitar stylings, also has a GREAT upward-sliding bassline that pops up in some great places (that creates my favorite sound on the album), not to mention that it's neat the way Byrne's ramblings resolve with something as classy as the "chorus" that ends with the title (well, there's also the way he quietly says, "gui-tar!" at 2:28, heh). The latter is just as good, though, with the first few seconds just about defining "Talking Heads" for me, with Dave simulating a snippy conversation between a couple before offering "commentary," all over the usual great basslines and guitar what-not's. And don't forget those Caribbean vibes over the guitars in the last half!

The other notable tracks bookend the album (one at the beginning, two at the end). The opening "Thank You For Sending Me an Angel" really does (as suggested by some others) sound like a cross between the rest of the album and the Beatles song "Get Back," with David proclaiming his love by rambling such amorous nuggets as "With a little practice, you can walk like, talk just like me...". The band's cover of Al Green's "Take Me to the River," the album's penultimate track, is friggin' great, if only for the novelty value of finding out what a regular, solid soul groove sounds like when filtered through coked-out art school dweebs. On the other hand, what comes after isn't as good; the last track, the countryish "The Big Country," is amusing because of David's almost self-parodic elitism, but the actual music isn't much as far as quality country goes.

As for the remaining tracks, um ... "The Good Thing" is alright, complaints about dweebishness aside, "The Girls Want to be with the Girls" is a good lesbian anthem (I really like that goofy organ that pops up under the guitars from time to time), and ... the other tracks are good. When I remember at all how they go, I'll be sure to let you know! Seriously, though, the sound is great, but the songs have a tendency to blend together here even more than on the debut. Regardless, I like the album way more than not, and definitely recommend it to anybody who enjoys the next two efforts.

tarkus1980 | 4/5 |


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