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Talk Talk - The Colour Of Spring CD (album) cover


Talk Talk


Crossover Prog

3.90 | 278 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars While you see a chance, take it

Talk Talk's migration from a top tier electronic pop band to a group worthy of inclusion on this site began to accelerate with this 1986 release. For this album, the by now core duo of Mark Hollis and Tim Friese-Greene (who write all the songs on this album together) is augmented by around 14 additional musicians and a choir. The most notable name among these guests is Steve Winwood, who adds organ to several tracks.

Right from the opening "Happiness is easy", it is apparent that the pop influences are being pushed aside in favour of a more considered sound. The pace of the songs is settling down to a slower style, with the synthesisers being used to a much lesser extent to provide the rhythms. The band show a willingness to take any resistance to their style head on, even including a children's choir on the track. The atmospheres which will become such an integral part of the band's sound are developed further on "I don't believe in you" (not to be confused with "I believe in you" on the next album), which includes some fine guitar work. Winwood's distinctive organ sound is used to great effect here, on a song whose actual structure belies its apparent simplicity.

Most people who followed pop in the 1980's with be familiar with the single "Life's what you make it". While the track does include a catchier rhythm, it is still founded in the atmospherics Hollis was beginning to make his trademark. Despite its pop roots, the song includes some decidedly jazz piano and even some good old mellotron.

"April 5th" and "Chameleon day" are the closest the album comes to the type of music which appeared on the band's final albums, and indeed on Hollis' solo release. It sounds on these tracks as if every note and every word is being carefully planned and crafted before being added to the song. The instrumentation on the latter song consists only of vocals and variophon.

It is only when we get to "Living in another world" that the pace picks up, the song having a similar style to Tears for Fears "Pale shelter". The wall of sound chorus appeals to my tastes greatly, with Hollis' unique vocal sounds suiting the song perfectly. The closing "Time it's time" is a wonderfully haunting number which bursts into life on the choir infused choruses. The song is quite unique.

When considering the context of "The colour of spring", we have to remember that the album was recorded during the mid 1980's, at a time when prog was decidedly out of fashion. Not only were Talk Talk prepared to investigate prog territories, they actively chose to move away from the commercial sounds which had brought them significant success. This album represents another major step in that migration. By any standard, this is a superb album. Seen in its wider context, we owe Talk Talk our respect and gratitude.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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