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Talk Talk - Spirit Of Eden CD (album) cover


Talk Talk


Crossover Prog

4.16 | 396 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Apparently I'm not the only Proghead somewhat blindsided by the inclusion of Talk Talk in these archives. Once upon a time I briefly owned a vinyl copy of their 1982 debut album "The Party's Over", but I dismissed the band long ago as a bunch of post-ROXY MUSIC New Romantic techno-poseurs with more fashion sense than genuine musical style.

That was before the group decided to bite the hand that was feeding them by completely recalibrating their aesthetic compass, in willful defiance of marketplace wisdom and against the better judgment of the bean-counters at EMI Records. Their 1986 album "The Colour of Spring" hinted at the changes ahead, but "Spirit of Eden" was the first, full blossoming of that new musical seed, and the choice of title was appropriate: this was as close to paradise as popular music could get in 1988.

Until my own recent, belated exposure to the album (thanks in large part to its high score on these pages) I always thought DAVID SYLVIAN had patented the formula for this sort of dreamlike ambient pop music. But he obviously wasn't the only artist drawing inspiration from the same deep well in an otherwise shallow musical decade, paving the way for other forward-thinking bands looking to jump off the gravy train (see RADIOHEAD for a more recent example).

The music itself is hard to pin down. The entire album drifts, pulses, dissolves, and flows together without any familiar sense of resolution or structure, interrupted by sporadic, semi-conscious brush strokes of guitar and percussion, all of it held together by the evocative singing of Mark Hollis. "Epic" was how my wife described it during a recent road trip, before ejecting the CD and putting on some Jackson Browne, with a clear sense of relief.

It's hard to resist awarding the album an immediate five stars, especially when considering the scarcity of worthwhile music in the 1980s. A quarter-century later it still sounds ahead of the times, and is still attracting new fans, yours truly included.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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