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Talk Talk

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Talk Talk The Colour Of Spring album cover
3.90 | 273 ratings | 27 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1986

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Happiness Is Easy (6:30)
2. I Don't Believe in You (5:02)
3. Life's What You Make It (4:28)
4. April 5th (5:51)
5. Living in Another World (6:58)
6. Give It Up (5:17)
7. Chameleon Day (3:20)
8. Time It's Time (8:14)

Total Time: 45:40

Line-up / Musicians

- Mark Hollis / lead vocals, guitar (8), keyboards (1), organ (4), piano (3,5-7), Mellotron (6), melodica (8), Variophon synth (4,7), cello (1)
- Paul Webb / bass (2,5,6,8), backing vocals (3,5)
- Lee Harris / drums, percussion

- Tim Friese-Greene / piano (1,2,4,8), organ (3,6,8), Mellotron (3), Kurzweil electric piano (1), Variophon synth (4,7), producer
- Robbie McIntosh / guitar (1,2,5), dobro (4,6), acoustic guitar (8)
- David Rhodes / guitar (3,5,6)
- Ian Curnow / keyboards
- Steve Winwood / organ (1,2,5)
- David Roach / soprano saxophone (2,4,5)
- Mark Feltham / harmonica (5)
- Alan Gorrie / bass (1)
- Danny Thompson / acoustic bass (1)
- Gaynor Sadler / harp (2)
- Martin Ditcham / percussion (1,3,5,6,8)
- Morris Pert / percussion (1,2,5,8)
- Phil Reis / percussion (1)
- Children From The School Of Miss Speake / chorus vocals (1)
- Ambrosia Choir / chorus vocals (8)

Releases information

ArtWork: James Marsh

LP EMI ‎- EMC 3506 (1986, UK)

CD EMI-Manhattan Records ‎- CDP 7 46228 2 (1987, US)
CD EMI ‎- RETALK 102 (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 Colour Of Spring ratings distribution

(273 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

TALK TALK The Colour Of Spring reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This would be the last 'pop' influenced TALK TALK album- except for some further fine- tuning on the voice, Hollis had begun to follow his musical calling.This is where the real magic started, but it's not always easy to find. The 'modern' pop sound of the 80s dominates this album, albeit at a level of creativity that most synth-pop or new romantic bands never approached. The raw, articulate desperation and spirituality is becoming more apparent, on "Happiness is Easy", "I Don't Believe in You", and "Living in Another World". "Life's What You Make It" is a classic pop song, sounding much less dated than one would expect. The true herald of the band's imminent breakthrough is the shifting, otherworldly beauty of "April 5th"- a hushed precursor to the unique opus to come in the following two albums. It's not a prog-rock album, really, but at a time when the giants of prog were indulging in pop songs for commercial success, TALK TALK was passing them in the opposite direction- fueling their increasingly progressive musical works with the money and momentum that their pop past provided. I like the album, but it's neither the band's best nor a fully progressive work, so only two stars in this forum.
Review by Sean Trane
2 stars I was certainly surprised to see this group popping up here ( popping they certainly were doing plenty of that in the 80's ) and I remembered not thoroughly detesting Life Is What You Make It - I think now that that this meant I liked it although I hated and still do everything to do with electronic pop and new wave . So I must've missed something back then ( I was discovering the 60's and Davis and Coltrane at the time , so I was not really paying attention - best proof is that I dicovered most 80's neo in the mid-90's) and could it be that I had categorized this wrong? So , as a proghead always venturing in the dark alleys of music , I rented this album and the two following ones to get an ear on it .

Well this is correct pop for the times , with all the major flaws of the times and sounds so dated , that even Love Me Do ( Beatles) is a more timeless piece of music than anything on this album. In itself , this album is not bad , if you are into that stuff b ut has no place here. Let's move on to the following ones. In the realm of this site , this album would diserve only one star , but it is monday morning so I will be complacent.

Review by FloydWright
4 stars I hadn't even HEARD of the band until I saw this album mentioned in an interview of RICK WRIGHT, Pink Floyd's keyboardist. On a lark I decided to give it a try--and sure enough, his taste proved extraordinary.

"The simplicity of the songs and Mark Hollis's voice make this album just incredible," Mr. Wright had explained to Record Collector magazine. "The first tune, 'Happiness Is Easy', says it all--nothing but a bass, a snare and a weird chord. That's Talk Talk all over, great songs and simplicity with a twist ... Why does it touch me? Hard to say, but it's got the feelgood factor, which all my favourite records have..."

From the second I heard the opening to "Happiness is Easy", I knew every word of Wright's was dead-on accurate. "Colour of Spring" is indeed a most appropriate title--I immediately felt a sense of gentle, uplifting power coming from the music. Although pensive, sometimes even sad in the lyrics at times, he does not go overboard with it. HOLLIS' voice becomes like a musical instrument in its own right, mingling perfectly with the open, never overpowering musical arrangements.

Particularly striking about this album are the Hammond organ played by Steve Winwood, which floats gently in the background and provides each track is atmosphere. The acoustic guitar and piano seem to dance gracefully in and out of the songs. Overall, Colour of Spring is incredibly soothing, but without putting the listener to sleep. This is the perfect album to unwind from a stressful day, and definitely a recommendation worth listening to! Maybe it's not your usual prog, but it IS good stuff!

Review by Matti
4 stars No, it's no prog, nor were Talk Talk at this time (1986) yet to become more artistic and experiencing. But this is a fantastic 'art pop' album with lots of groove and atmosphere. It has both catchy but very original tracks like "Life's What You Make It" and "Living in Another World" and hints of future Talk Talk sound in "April 5th" and "Chameleon Day", and the rest in between these poles is more or less laid back, to some degree even bluesy, songs where especially percussions and guitars sound very delicious. Both Mark Hollis as a singer and writer and the whole band had matured surprisingly from their poppier days - "It's My Life" (1984) is not a bad album either but has some boring fillers and overall more 'plastic' synth-based pop sound.____________ It's hard to say if I prefer this one or TT's two later and more complex albums. This is easier to enjoy (not a great merit in a prog forum, I know). It does have all the colours of spring! Greetings to Vlado whose 5* review is true to every word. With just a BIT more complexity on the songs - they do vary from each other but don't progress much within themselves - I'd also give 5.
Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I remember TALK TALK being typical synth pop band in mid 1980s, but nothing wrong with it - I like good pop music too! However I never expected them to be included in Prog Archives. This album definitely is not anywhere near prog rock, but it is a good "art pop/rock". Having seen many bad music included here under the label "progressive", this comes even close to a masterpiece. Of course, I will try to be rather objective: this album is similar in some aspects to David Sylvian solo works, difference being that it is much more pop-oriented and easier to listen. There are even two major hits included, "Life's What You Make It" and "Living In Another World" which shook the radio/MTV in times of release. But I think there are enough jazzy/ambient sophisticated sounds that can satisfy a keen and patient prog listener. While I cannot really say this is "excellent addition to prog collection", I would give it 3,5 for a sucessful "pop-art" achievement that many open- minded prog rockers can still enjoy.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Colour of Spring was the turning point for Talk Talk. Well it was an indication that their music was moving in a more progressive direction. ' Lifes What You Make It' being the song that best illustrated the change. A great ryhtmic" incantation" almost which was equally popular on dance floors in extended mix versions.There are some great guests on this album also like Robbie MaCintosh, Morris Pert, David Rhodes which indicate the respect this band was getting and the music had a much more serious edge to it. Other great songs were ' Happiness is Easy', the sing along ' Give It Up' and ' Living In Another World'. A worthwhile addition for any aspiring prog collectors.
Review by Prog-jester
4 stars Happiness is TALK TALK

Considered by many as their last Pop album, I'd say this is their first Art album. Gone were all cheesy dance rhythms and plastic sounds - The Colour Of Spring opens with upright bass notes and acoustic drumset groove. This is where genius of Spirit... and ...Stock began to form, especially in calm and moody tracks like Chameleon Day and April 5th. On the other hand typical TT hymnesque hits like Living in Another World and Life's What You Make It look more mature due to live instruments and rich arrangements - I'd say this is Talkies' peak (more on a commercial side though). Closing 8-min long epic Time is Time features one of the most haunting choir sections I ever heard and unusual harmony (which is typical feature for most TT songs - they weren't usual Pop, they were artsy even in terms of writing chords and melodies!). Standing closer to Art-Rock or World Music than New Wave or Synth Pop, The Colour of Spring is a living proof that the Talkies were the 80s Beatles - the most unique and thinking band, that managed to reach out from the world of show-business right to the kingdom of Music (and I don't care how strong is my pathos now). Highly recommended!

Review by 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.

Review by ZowieZiggy

I am still wondering why this album gets so many high ratings on a prog site.

From the very first notes of this album, I couldn't feel any change in comparison with their two previous records. Same weak and repetitive electro-pop sound mixed with a children choir (this was not a plus, I'm afraid). Hapiness Is Easy. I bet you!

At least "It's My Life" featured some great pop songs which are absent of this one. So, what's left is this rather thin effort? A mellowish and sub-par Roxy ("I Don't Believe In You"), a discotheque anthem "Life's What You Make It", or an ambient "April 5th" which only shines thanks to some fine mellotron lines.

"Give It Up" says sufficiently to avoid more of an explanation and the band will even touch the experimental atmosphere with "Chameleon Day" (no big deal though).

My likings goes to "Living In Another World" which has an upbeat flavour and has a catchy melody. Hollis also sounds more convincing and punchier than usual and the excellent harmonica adds a nice touch to it.

During this whole album, I have liked some fine keyboarding and potentially several melodies. Of prog music, there is no speak about. Three out of ten which I will upgrade (thanks to the joyful "Time It's Time", the closing number) to two stars.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Colour of Spring is the third album from Talk Talk. Itīs with The Colour of Spring that people into experimental rock music should be able to get something out of Talk Talkīs music. There is a big change from the synth based pop music from the previous two album to this much more mature experimental rock music.

The music is still commercial and the singles from The Colour of Spring were on heavy rotation on MTV which of course led to a major sales number of the album. The Colour of Spring was a commercial succes as well as an artistic statement from Mark Hollis and co. The Colour of Spring was also my introduction to the band even though I had been trying out Laughing Stock which I found a bit too experimental at the time ( this has since changed). I have always enjoyed commercial music that had one foot in progressive music and that is just what The Colour of Spring represents.

The most known songs from The Colour of Spring are Happiness Is Easy, Life's What You Make It, Living in Another World and they are very strong compositions with lots of intriguing sounds and small parts that you wouldnīt normally hear in commercial music. The more quit and introvert songs April 5th and Chameleon Day points towards their future albums which are closer to this style than the more commercially sounding songs on The Colour of Spring.

One of the most exciting features on The Colour of Spring is the many guest musicians playing everything from percussion to horns, harps and saxes. They really add a lot to the soundscape. The music still has lots of synth but organ is the most used keyboard on the album. Talk Talk is moving towards a more organic sound. This is also the album where main composer and lead singer Mark Hollis begins to emphasise his philosophy that silence is just as important as notes in music. The music is generally very dynamic and during the most elaborate parts there are multible layers of instruments and sounds while the more quiet parts are more simple.

The musicianship is outstanding for a pop album and weīre treated to some really nice interplay and strange ideas.

The production is just as outstanding as the musicians. One of the best productions from the eighties no doubt.

The Colour of Spring has always intrigued me as it is both commercial and challenging which is a rarety. Allthough I like their even more experimental albums Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock more than The Colour of Spring today The Colour of Spring is still one of the best experimental pop/ rock albums from the eighties and well worth the 4 stars that I will rate it. Highly recommendable to those of you who like commercial music with a twist.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album was a definite improvement over the previous release but the band had still a bit to go in order to fulfill their intended transitional goals.

While most art/progressive bands went from art to a more commercial sound Talk Talk followed in the steps of The Beatles and decided to do a couple of experiments on this album. While Life's What You Make It is probably the most recognized song from the batch, just like "It's My Life" from the previous album, it's by no means the best one here. I tend to favor the longer tracks especially album closers Chameleon Day which then slips into Time It's Time. This last track has for some strange reason always reminded me of Marillion's The Space, or maybe it's the other way around.

Thanks to the more commercial sound of the first part of this album The Colour Of Spring still managed to become a commercial success upon its release and the band's record label didn't notice the transition that has began to take shape. Once the next album arrived they definitely never saw it coming!

***** star songs: Living In Another World (6:58) Time It's Time (8:14)

**** star songs: Life's What You Make It (4:28) Chameleon Day (3:20)

*** star songs: Happiness Is Easy (6:30) I Don't Believe In You (5:02) April 5th (5:51) Give It Up (5:17)

Total rating: 3,84

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Back when Talk Talk released their first two albums, I was in my sympho infancy and raving over all things Floyd, Rush, ELP and Yes. So Talk Talk were the epitome of despicable music to me, the kind of stuff my sister listened to. Yuk! But that's a long time ago and when I stumbled upon their later albums at the end of the 80's, I couldn't believe my ears. This was an entirely different band, full of emotion, rich instrumentation, freely flowing compositions. This was Music with a capital M. The Colour of Spring is the first Talk Talk album that inspires for a song by song overview, which is always a good sign.

Happiness is Easy is a beautiful and amazing song. An entrancing minimalist rhythm that could have come off a Peter Gabriel or a Can album sets the pace. The instrumentation mainly sticks to laid-back drum and bass with touches of acoustic guitar and piano. There are a few swelling outburst with organ, saxophone and even a children's choir. It's still a verse chorus song at heart but at 6.30 minutes, that structure has become less visible, music has taken over. I Don't Believe In You follows a similar pattern. An entrancing slow groove, captivating melodies and a tasty and inventive approach to instrumentation. It's hard to believe how these young guys matured in a few years. Of course an array of guest musicians helps out a hand.

Life's What You Make It is the best known song from this album and one of my favourites, those few strokes of lead guitar are too good to be true. I wouldn't call this song commercial though as it didn't follow the dominating sound or the conventions of pop that were dominating the scene then. It's always interesting to see bands doing unexpected and new things and still reach huge audiences, in spite of the attempts of record labels to serve people the same dish every day.

April 5th and Chameleon Day are historic moments, especially in respect to the development of post-rock. This couldn't' be further removed from anything else from 1986, the vocal melodies have become more of a suggestion then a repeated phrase, almost as if Hollis improvises over the abstract sounds and the slow shuffle. The two following albums would expand this foundation, but here is where Talk Talk had their revelation and found their true identity. Of course nothing stands entirely on its own in art, so this can sure be traced back to jazz and experimental rock, but still there isn't much in my pre-86 rock catalogue that sounds like this.

Living In Another World and Give It Up are more up-beat and slightly commercial songs. While adequate they bring down the average level a bit. Time It's Time is more adventurous and original.

This album combines the catchy song writing of the first albums with the sophisticated arrangements, the originality and experimentation of the years to come. For that reason it's the most accomplished and the essential Talk Talk album for me. 4.5 stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars If you've heard "Spirit Of Eden" this album will come as no surprise to you, as the direction toward Eden began right here. While I would call this a transitional album I would say it without any negativity whatsoever. I definitely prefer this to "Laughing Stock" and consider it in the same league as "Spirit Of Eden". I suggest you read Bonnek's closing remarks in regards to this album as he says it much better than I could. Cool to hear Steve Winwood on here playing organ and keyboards, as well as Morris Pert on percussion. Both play significant roles on this album.

"Happiness Is Easy" also features a children's choir. Intricate sounds to start as vocals arrive before a minute. Synths follow then the choir. Sax before 4 minutes.The bass, drums, percussion, vocals and piano follow. It kicks back in with organ. Excellent track. "I Don't Belive In You" has this relaxed beat with bass as vocals, guitar and organ all eventually join in. "Life's What You Make It" was a big hit and a favourite track of mine.The atmospheric guitar, beat and vocals all make this song what it is. Piano before 2 1/2 minutes. "April 5th" has these intricate sounds that come and go with reserved vocals. Piano a minute in. Atmosphere before 3 1/2 minutes.

"Living In Another World" is more uptempo and fuller as the vocals join in. Harmonica comes and goes in this one. Some nice bass 2 1/2 minutes in as well. "Give It Up" has a beat with vocals and piano standing out. I like the bass and organ before 3 minutes. Catchy tune. "Chameleon Day" has no real melody to it as vocals and other sounds come and go. Thankfully it's the shortest track by far "Time It's Time" has a beat with percussion and bass as vocals join in. It's fuller 1 1/2 minutes in then it settles back a minute later as contrasts continue.

Mark Hollis and Tim Friese-Greene did the unexpected here and came out smelling like roses. The colour of spring indeed.

Review by Warthur
4 stars On The Colour of Spring the synthpop Talk Talk had previously been known for mingles with the classic jazz influences which would inform the band's later avant-garde experiments to produce a baroque pop masterpiece which hints at the post-rock prototypes the band would soon invent. Paul Webb's vocals combine with the choir to provide a perfect balance between slick mainstream appeal and hints of something more than that, whilst the intricate, layered musical backing already shows the combination of improvisation and perfectionism which would be the key to the band's later work. An intriguing and enchanting album, and perhaps the Talk Talk album which reaches the closest compromise between accessibility and experimentalism.
Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Whereas a list of prog bands who ultimately veered into overt commercial territory would fill several screens, the analogous compendium of popular bands abandoning commercial aspirations would fit on the tip of my pinkie. In fact I would venture to say that most of us have simply assumed without a first or second thought that this never even happens. That is, unless we are fortunate enough to encounter Exhibit A, the enigmatic consummate 1980s new wave group TALK TALK.

Crafters of the catchy but annoying hit "It's My Life" several years earlier, with "The Colour of Spring" TALK TALK began to transition to an ambient experimental style that they would fully adopt on the following 2 albums. This album is more sophisticated pop than crossover prog, with some of the tired qualities of earlier efforts infusing "Life's What You Make it" and "Give it Up". On the other hand, "I don't Believe in You" and "Living in Another World" generate acoustically layered atmospheres, with stimulating use of guitars and harmonica, and less emphasis on new wave rhythms. But it's really "April 5th" that instantiates the mellifluous mannerisms of this group's later work and heightens the techniques already being plied by DAVID SYLVIAN. Delicate but not withering, the fusion of keys, winds, vocals, and guitars is mesmerizing. One might argue that its effect here is more pronounced simply because of its more bouncy neighbours.

Interim works like this can only be evaluated after the fact, but often become my favorite output by the artist. CLANNAD's "Macalla", ELOY's "Dawn", STRAWBS' "Bursting at the Seams", RENAISSANCE's "A Song for All Seasons", MIKE OLDFIELD's "QE2", HORSLIPS' "The Book of Invasions", MOSTLY AUTUMN's "The Last Bright Light", are among the multitudes. While I don't yet possess the same famiarity with the TALK TALK catalogue, the question is always the same...does the turnabout mark the beginning of the end or the breakthrough to new territories? For the answer, let's talk talk later.

Review by Lewian
5 stars As some others have mentioned, this is not a standard prog album and many prog fans may not like it. Still, this is a marvellous album and it's progressive in the truest sense, namely it is a milestone in the development of the band, and something truly original and unique for whatever could be called pop music.

It helps if catchy hit singles don't put you off but if you like them if they are well done. This album has two of them, "Life's What You Make It" and "Living in Another World". Both of these are spectacular, dynamic, unforgettable and rank among my favourite songs of all time. One major development on this album is that the former synthpop band here uses much warmer sounds, piano, hammond organ, mouth harp and more guitar with a very transparent mix that already let's you appreciate every small detail in the playing (this will become even more characteristic on the next two albums of the band). "Life's What You Make It" with its repetitive easily recognizable motif has drilled itself into my ears like hardly any other song. "Living in Another World" on the other hand is for a hit single very complex and dynamic, a perfectly crafted little masterpiece.

Apart from these the album has "Happiness Is Easy", quite relaxed and swinging with nice percussion and a surprising chorus sung by children (have a nice time comparing this to "we don't need no education"). The warm and transparent sound of the album is best appreciated in this song. "I Don't Believe In You" is a fairly slow simple song that has stood the test of time very well. "April 5th" goes more in the direction of their later more experimental releases. It's very calm and delicate and has a free psychedelic feel to it. "Give It Up", a mid tempo number, is perhaps the most conventional song on the album and not that interesting composition-wise but the instrumentation and sound are once more a winner. It's just like having beautiful unexpected small flowers popping up all around you when listening to these songs. After this follows "Chameleon Day", a stark contrast, the song that is closest to what would happen on the next album. This is an experimental song that at the time nobody could have expected from any popular band. It sounds very calm and fragile with partly atonal keyboard and woodwind and a very vulnerable and delicate voice, but finally manages to evolve into something like a melody. Haunting and fascinating. It would have been a jewel even on "Laughing Stock" or "Spirit of Eden"; here it is a total shocker (in a good way). "Time It's Time" is a more conventional song again that doesn't start off all too spectacular but comes up with a very dramatic build up of an intense chorus to bring the albums to the end on another high (although I'd have preferred if it they hadn't ended it by fading out).

This album has top notch songs, Mark Hollis's very unique intense voice, and an unexpectedly rich and warm instrumentation that makes it a pleasure from beginning to end. My brother thinks that this is the best album ever. For me it comes close (although otherwise we have quite different tastes).

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars This is the third album by Talk Talk and it came on the heels of the successful prior album "It's My Life". Even though that album was more popular in the U.S., this album called "The Colour of Spring" was actually a bigger seller worldwide. This album shows the beginning of a shift in the music of Talk Talk towards a more lush sound and begins the transition of the band from pop to an ambient sound. You do hear a lot of that shift in this album, and it makes for some very nice sounds. To me, it is approaching the later sounds of Roxy Music, more of a prog-pop sound. The albums to come after this one are the reason why Talk Talk is in the Prog Archives site.

The first track shows off the change right off the bat. "Happiness is Easy" is not a track you would expect to hear on the radio, especially pop radio in the 80s. It has a light rhythm which has plenty of anti-pop changes throughout. It is a beautiful song with nice instrumentation and plenty to keep it interesting and mildly challenging. "I Don't Believe in You" is more of a customary sounding song with a mid tempo sound and with more of a pop sound. The next track was the single from the album, and, strangely enough, I have found their singles to be rather appealing. This is "Life's What You Make It" and it has a great piano hook which utilizes the lower keys of the piano which is a nice change in the world of pop music. Hints of ambience abound in the next track "April 5th", though the piano riff is repetitive, the other instruments weave in and around this riff and even that mildly repetitiveness becomes less and less noticeable as the other sounds take over the spotlight even drowning out the vocals, but this is all done without much increase in volume, staying in the ambient area. This is a very nice track. Even though it is not a deeply progressive song, it is not typical either and I find it quite enjoyable.

The second side starts off with what was a minor single called "Living in Another World". This one is a return to a poppy sound with an upbeat rhythm. There is a nice harmonica riff in the instrumental breaks, but other than that, there isn't much that stands out on this track. It is said that Mark Hollis was inspired by the modal jazz of Miles Davis for this song. "Give it Up" is more mid-tempo with that mysterious sound to it that made Talk Talk famous. It is a little more interesting than the previous track, but is pretty straightforward with a repetitive chorus. Next is the shortest track at just over 3 minutes. It is called "Chameleon Day", and it is far from ordinary. Instrumentation is dissonant and sparse and includes some brass instruments and vocals are subdued with a few outbursts. This is the route the band would be taking, an excellent move into ambience. The last track, "Time It's Time", is over 8 minutes and has a more prominent rhythm. This one is another very Roxy Music sounding track. There is a nice choir added in the chorus which adds an unexpected twist, but not in the tired, worn out way that you expect in pop music. They almost add some contrast to the mood of the piece and make it more interesting The verses are soft and subdues and the chorus is more intense. With the length of this song, I was hoping for more of a progressive development here, but that doesn't happen in this case.

Anyway, I enjoy this album, but I also enjoyed "It's My Life". But I was really excited to hear how they had started to add some progressive elements to this album when I heard it originally. This would continue in future albums to a much greater extent, staying in the ambient style. This album is not their best, but it is still worth listening to because there are some great sounds and music here, but you do have to sit through a few mediocre songs to get to the great ones. Not perfect, but still a favorite that I think doesn't get enough credit. 4 stars because the highlights are really good.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars While the punk movement hit hard in 1977 when the Sex Pistols dropped their debut bomb "Never Mind The Bollocks," the death of Sid Vicious found the genre splintering into myriad directions before it really had a chance to take off. Of the two major sub-groups which included the artier grit of post-punk and the pop infused counterpart known as new wave, the latter is the one that dominated the music charts, decorated the pastiche of a nascent MTV video revolution and additionally launched the careers of countless bands that suddenly found unthinkable instant success. One of these groups was the London based TALK TALK that joined the ranks of the legion of synthpop bands that emerged in the early 80s however unlike the majority of such acts, was one of the very few bands to evolve past their early new wave origins.

Despite the lack of major success in their native UK as well as the USA, TALK TALK was quite successful in many regions of the world, especially the European continent and New Zealand once their second album "It's My Life" spawned a pair of hit singles. While easily fitting in with the status quo of the new wave era, there was always something about TALK TALK that transcended the new romantic synth-laden pop sensibilities of the first two albums and as the year 1984 found much of the new wave artists being swept aside for more mainstream artists finally getting in on the video action, TALK TALK instead quietly spent two years transmogrifying itself into a completely new band. By shedding the synthpop stylistic approach and opting for an artier and complex form of more progressive pop that served as a bridge between the synthpop origins and the new musical genre they pioneered eventually known as post- rock, the band clearly set themselves apart in a big way.

THE COLOUR OF SPRING, the third album proved that TALK TALK was a much more sophisticated band than many that emerged in the new wave drenched early 80s. The eight tracks which make up the album continue the romantic crooning vocal style of lead vocalist Mark Hollis (R.I.P.) however the music that surrounded his melodically passionate singing style had completely moved on into a pseudo-progressive sort of pop and although the band was still centered around the triumvirate of Hollis (vocals, piano, keyboards, guitar), Lee Harris (drums) and Paul Webb (bass), THE COLOUR OF SPRING opened the floodgates for new sounds and 14 guest musicians to add new colorful timbres and tones which in retrospect would lead to the padded and bloated sounds of the following "The Spirit Of Eden" and "Laughing Stock." Both of which have gained the ultimate cult following as the very first examples of what would become known as the post-rock paradigm.

While those albums would go over the heads of the public at large during their day, THE COLOUR OF SPRING on the other hand became the most successful album of TALK TALK's career at least during years of the band's existence. The album deftly straddled the line between accessible pop hooks and angsty art fueled errancy. While the synthpop bands had mostly eschewed their punk roots for a more polished pop veneer, TALK TALK revived some of those emotional constructs of sort, not in the music itself but in the delivery of the eclectic melting pot of jazz, pop and rock alongside the emotionally strewn lyrics that resurrect the spirit and zeitgeist of the angst and uncertainties of the world but in a more mature and refined musical delivery. The thread of continuity is cleverly designed despite not outbursts of anarchy or social unrest.

THE COLOUR OF SPRING is a transition album in every way. Not only that it perfectly sits in the middle of the band's five album run, but also in how it drifts from the more pop-infused opening tracks like "Happiness Is Easy" and the single "Life's What You Make It" to the more experimental closing numbers "Chameleon Day" and "Time It's Time" which prognosticated the band's next move into a more ambient future. With a highly creative leap of musical expression, TALK TALK transcended with grace beyond the world of synthpop and evolved not merely into the next version of the pop music industry but rather crafted an extraordinarily idiosyncratic sound that to this very day still sounds like no other.

With the change of style, it became clearer that the band's core element was the vocal style of Mark Hollis. While the music that supported his vocal prowess changed around it, his distinct aural textures are accented by the new instrumental accompaniments that offers a more subtle and fragile tapestry of an ever expanding amalgamation of instrumentation that would set the stage for the artistic post-rock overdrive of the following "Spirit Of Eden." Due to its transitional nature, THE COLOUR OF SPRING sounds like no other TALK TALK album much less any other album ever made but still finds a brilliant balance between the sensual sultry lyrical delivery and the new romantic progressive sophisti-pop of the musical scores. Instantly catchy but allows exploration. As colorful as the assortment of lepidopteran imagery on the album cover art.

Review by jamesbaldwin
4 stars With their third album, Talk Talk completes the process that saw them start with the synth - pop of the debut album and move on to the second album with less synthetic and more traditional sounds, in particular with regards to drums and keyboards. The voice of Mark Hollis, nasal and dramatic, characterizes more and more the group which in this case sports the piano in the foreground instead of the keyboards, a nice round drum sound, the solid bass of Lee Harris, and often the organ of Steve Winwood and the guitar of Robbie McIntosh and David Rhodes.

Talk Talk now are: Mark Hollis (composer, multiinstrumentalist and singer) and Tim Friese-Greene (composer, multiinstrumentalist and producer) plus a group of 15 session-men.

1. Happiness Is Easy (6:30) is played by piano, electric piano, keyboards, organ (Steve Winwood), guitar, bass, acoustic bass, drums (I guess drum machine by Lee Harris), two kind of percussions, cello, vocals and chorus vocals of the children from the School Of Miss Speake. Wow, what a great production! with an arrangement of this type, the song takes on a thickness, a stratification of the timbre and of the various instruments that was previously unknown to Talk Talk and that leads them straight to experimental, avant-garde music, making them come out of the commercial one. Rating 8,5.

2. I Don't Believe in You (5:02) vocals, bass and drums and percussion, piano, electric guitar, organ (Winwood), harp, saxophone. Electric guitar solo. This is a piano ballad with sophysticated arrangement. Rating 8.

3. Life's What You Make It (4:28) This is the single of the record. Drums, percussion, piano, electric guitar and... no bass. From the beginning to the end, the same phrase on the piano. easy to remember. Static song, which always repeats the same pattern, and is based only on Hollis' singing, the piano phrase, and the acid guitar, all on a carpet of drums and percussion. Charming but very repetitive. Rating 7.

4. April 5th (5:51) Here she comes... Hollis' voice, piano, percussion, variophon synth, saxophone on the background and... no bass. Another strange sound. hypnotic, nocturnal, somnambulist song, with too many percussions in evidence, which will be the bridge to the masterpiece "Spirit of Eden". Rating 7,5/8.

End of Side A.

5. Living in Another World (6:58) Absolute masterpiece, piano ballad with great work of the rhythmic section and with a paroxysmal, orgiastic, mesmeric atmosphere that reaches peaks of authentic and difficult to forget pathos. We can hear again, for the last time, the organ played by Winwood and then, there is the harmonica played by Feltham, fantastic, and, most of all, Hollis' voice, unforgettable. Rating 9.

6. Give It Up (5:17) Good bass, drums, and keyboards and acoustic guitar, and then Hollis' voice for this piano ballad, very emphatic, rhetorical, but certainly suggestive, only excessively repetitive and long. We are near to a jazz-pop song. Rating 7,5.

7. Chameleon Day (3:20) this is not a real song but a piece of it made of variophon synth, piano, and voice. Nothing else. Good pathos but... too short. Another advance of Spirit of Eden. Rating 7.

8. Time It's Time (8:14) is a long ballad, with a melodica solo, played by Hollis. It's a more conventional song, with verse and chorus, too long, with the Ambrosia Choir to sing chorus vocals. Rating 7+.

This is a pop jazz record with fabulous arrangements, of great refinement, at the base are piano ballads with a very strong rhythmic section, where there are almost always more layers of percussion, where in other cases the bass is completely missing. Between piano, keyboards and organ, there are then layers of keyboards, and almost always acoustic guitars, then to break the rhythm, one on each side, there are atmospheric slow songs. There are to great masterpieces on the beginning of first and second side but in any case the second side does not hold the same quality and ends with a long song which is the least experimental. Overall, a transition album both musically and commercially, very interesting, and unpredictable, which will bridge the two future masterpieces.

Rating: 8+. Four stars.

Review by BrufordFreak
4 stars My introduction to the band. (My brother played this album to death!)

1. "Happiness Is Easy" (6:30) great song with multiple tracks of interest: tabla, children's chorus, Danny Thompson and his double bass, Victoria, and over course the brilliantly spacious piano chord play. (9.25/10)

2. "I Don't Believe in You" (5:02) (8.5/10)

3. "Life's What You Make It" (4:28) Catchy hooks abound but run a bit long. (9/10)

4. "April 5th" (5:51) shades of Post Rock to come. Nice and spacious--even when other layers are added. (8.75/10)

5. "Living in Another World" (6:58) drivin' New Wave with a jazzy flavor lurking beneath--with a couple additional sections making it seem like a Mark Johnson (THE THE) EP. (13.25/15)

6. "Give It Up" (5:17) a slight variation on the "Life's What You Make It" format. (8.75/10)

7. "Chameleon Day" (3:20) very interesting chamber exercise in space tolerance--Isham-esque. Excellent! (9/10)

8. "Time It's Time" (8:14) awesome BLUE NILE-like pulsing rhythm track over which Mark pulls out one of his more amazing vocal performances. With the opener and "Chameleon Day," the best song on the album on the album--my favorite. (14.5/15)

Total Time: 45:40

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of truly progressive rock music--blending together several styles from chamber to jazz to New Wave.

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
5 stars The mid to late 80s delivered a plethora of amazing music to go around. I mean we got classic art pop beauties like Hounds Of Love, So, and Disintegration; some seriously fantastic prog stuff like On Land And In The Sea, Clutching At Straws, and Les Morts Vont Vite; excellent and heavy metal stuff like Master Of Puppets, Killing Technology, and No More Color. This era of music was a maturing act for many artists, with some slowly morphing their sound into new ways that changed the whole history of music entirely. One of the best bands to mature within this time frame of sounds and styles has to be Talk Talk.

Started in 1981 by the late Mark Hollis, Talk Talk was once your typical new wave group, creating rather catchy poppy hits. However, by their second record, It's My Life, they showed that they are more than capable of making more than the usual 80s affair of synthpop and new wave, and make more artistic statements that go against the commercial grain. Their third effort, two years after their sophomore wonder, projected the band's trajectory into a genre defining giant of rock and pop music, with The Colour Of Spring.

The Colour Of Spring is my personal favorite release from this band's discography. Sure, it may not be the lush and ambient Spirit of Eden, nor is it the highly defining post rock wonder that is Laughing Stock, but it has its own atmosphere that I think I enjoy much, much more.

The main take away from this album is the beauty. Every song, whether it is the more pastoral April 5th, to the more catchy Give It Up, gives this album a sort of mystical and seasonal energy that usually warms me up. It is strange, this album's whole thematics are based on the season of Spring, yet I find myself listening to this more in the fall and winter time, but I guess an album with such a lonely sound fits well with some more lonely seasons.

I find this album to contain some of Mark's best vocal performances. His voice has always reminded me of Phil Collins, but in a more deeper and sophisticated tone, similar to, say, Brian Wilson. The Beach Boys do feel like an inspiration to the more vibrant Talk Talk sound, especially if you compare this record to Surf's Up. Though, whereas Surf's Up is a rainy, somber record, Colour Of Spring definitely feels lighter, foggy, but still carries out the same sadness that could be found in that 1971 classic. If you like the more experimental side of that California band then certainly check if this album is up your alley.

Now for the 100 dollar question on why I believe this record to be a masterpiece. Simply, it has all to do with the final three tracks of Give It Up, Chameleon Day, and Time It's Time. Give It Up is this smooth, almost jazzy synthpop land of groovy hooks, drumlines, and impressive keyboard works. It is a 5 minute rendezvous of some of the best, more poppy music that Talk Talk has ever produced in my opinion, one that, while certainly a lot more accessible on this album, definitely still creates an aura of cold spring days.

Chameleon Day is a sheer contrast to Give It Up, something a lot more quiet, desolate, and reflective, oftentimes feeling mournful and grim. This is where Mark's vocals take a more front seat in the endeavor, creating a beautiful and melancholic work of art, one that I think truly gives him a particular edge to some of the best performers of the 80s, like Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, and Elizabeth Fraser. His dramatic heights on this track in particular cause an almost emotional whirlwind to flow through me.

The last song is that of Time It's Time, the longest track on the album clocking in at over 8 minutes. This feels kind of like a combination of the last two tracks, featuring atmospheric dream pop workings with nice?groovy synth and drums works. It swirls through a series of varying pop degrees that whirl through emotions of peace, thought, and soon, happiness. This song can certainly warm anyone up, and perfectly encapsulates the feeling of waking up on the first day of Spring for me. The snow is almost all melted, the sun is a lot brighter and hotter, trees are starting to grow a bit more leaves, and a lot more life is starting to sprout and about. Really, this song feels like the inner workings of Mother Nature, morphing the winter snow into white and pink tulips, allowing deer and fauna to rise up out of hibernation. It is a beautiful ending to a beautiful album.

Certainly do check this record out if you haven't, as it is certainly one of the biggest achievements to ever come out of the world of pop music. With a multitude of great songs, scores, and emotions packed into this, it is a wonder how this isn't as talked about in the grand scheme of the 80s. Certainly deserves a bit of light.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This one I hesitate to give five stars because the next two by them are just on another level, but ultimately I went with my gut and will give a five to this amazing album. One of the most utterly natural-sounding pop albums you'll ever hear, up there with Pet Sounds. The spiritual drifting of opene ... (read more)

Report this review (#2944951) | Posted by alex_newgrass | Friday, August 11, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is one of those great records from the mid-eighties that most people seem to forget as they were sadly too lost with the likes of Duran Duran and so on. Talk Talk's The Colour of Spring sounds like nothing else, a world away from their previous albums of synthesised new-romanticism. It's someth ... (read more)

Report this review (#510272) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Saturday, August 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Rating: B+ Talk Talk's third album of five, The Colour of Spring is that proverbial middle child. The first two albums are synth pop (very good synth pop, for the record), and the latter two albums are among the most experimental, sublime pieces of music ever recorded. Stuck in between is The ... (read more)

Report this review (#169835) | Posted by Pnoom! | Sunday, May 4, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Clearly the turning point in Talk Talk's career. The music is still pop, but with the jazzy/bluesy/ambient moments that will characterize their next albums. A large number of guest musicians help giving more density to the songs, though each song in itself is quite simply structured. I would t ... (read more)

Report this review (#76149) | Posted by zaxx | Monday, April 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is one of the best albums I have and it has that magical touch of traditional instruments playing in a modern way. David Rhodes is giving an excellent signature to this record, but what I like is how Talk Talk freeīd itself from itīs own. The records following up this one, are beautifull b ... (read more)

Report this review (#48544) | Posted by peter lensvelt | Monday, September 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It is incerdible what a journy TALK TALK had made in the 80s. From the synthy new romantic pop such as It's my life or Such a shame, through very influential and exciting songs in Colour of springs to the silence and meditation in the two last albums. And all these periods are worthy being lis ... (read more)

Report this review (#31135) | Posted by | Thursday, March 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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