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TALK TALK

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Talk Talk biography
Founded in 1981 in London - Disbanded in 1991.

Formed in 1981 by muti-instrumentalist Mark HOLLIS, TALK TALK began as a fairly typical 80s synth pop band. Joined by producer and keyboardist Tim Friese-Greene in 1983, the band began to experiment with jazz and classical influences, at times evoking late-60's psychedelic explorers CAN and PINK FLOYD. With a cut-and-paste style of production, Hollis and Friese-Green utilized recordings of many and diverse guest musicians to create atmospheric compositions of startling uniqueness. By the early 90s, the band's internal pressures and total lack of record company support (added to their refusal to do interviews, make videos, or even tour regularly) led Hollis to venture out on his own, where he continues to explore music in its most abstract and minimalist forms.

Although such releases as 1982's "The Party's Over" and 1984's "It's My Life" generated significant interest and some success, TALK TALK began to evolve past the synth-pop with "The Colour of Spring" in 1986, which contained tantalizing tastes of what was to come. The defining sound finally emerged on their subsequent two releases, "Spirit of Eden" (1988) and "Laughing Stock" (1991). These albums are truly unique statements; seemingly free-form and abstract, the songs reveal themselves to be delicately constructed soundscapes where each note - or even each moment of silence - is necessary and powerfully emotional. Instruments and vocals weave in and out of the mix, sometimes contributing only one quiet sound before disappearing, sometimes building to a wrenching climax.

Although by no means standard prog-rock fare, TALK TALK (at their best) shares with the greats of the genre an attitude of instrumental exploration and willingness to abandon traditional structures. Those looking for flights of technical dexterity a la Wakeman, McLaughlin, Emerson et cetera will be disappointed, but those who prize the quieter, shifting abstract textures of "Starless"-era KING CRIMSON may feel right at home. Seldom has music been as artistic and conceptual and yet at the same time so heartfelt and real. No matter what your musical preferences, the last two albums are unlike anything else ever recorded and are highly recommended to anyone who values musical exploration.

: : : James Lee, UNITED STATES : : :

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TALK TALK discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

TALK TALK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.73 | 103 ratings
The Party's Over
1982
3.17 | 142 ratings
It's My Life
1984
3.79 | 214 ratings
The Colour Of Spring
1986
4.15 | 392 ratings
Spirit Of Eden
1988
3.96 | 285 ratings
Laughing Stock
1991

TALK TALK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.10 | 26 ratings
London 1986
1998

TALK TALK Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.83 | 33 ratings
Live At Montreux 1986
2008

TALK TALK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.33 | 23 ratings
Natural History: The Very Best Of Talk Talk
1990
2.17 | 5 ratings
History Revisited
1991
2.95 | 2 ratings
The Very Best Of Talk Talk
1997
2.07 | 5 ratings
12x12 Original Remixes
1999
2.45 | 12 ratings
Asides Besides
2000
3.13 | 4 ratings
The Collection
2000
3.00 | 12 ratings
Missing Pieces
2001
4.09 | 3 ratings
Introducing
2003
3.10 | 2 ratings
Time it's Time
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Natural Order 1982 - 1991
2013

TALK TALK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Today / It's So Serious
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Mirror Man
1982
4.00 | 4 ratings
My Foolish Friend
1983
5.00 | 1 ratings
Dum Dum Girl
1984
3.08 | 5 ratings
It's My Life
1984
0.00 | 0 ratings
Such a Shame
1984
0.00 | 0 ratings
Another Word
1984
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Don't Believe in You
1986
0.00 | 0 ratings
Give It Up
1986
3.14 | 3 ratings
Living in Another World
1986
3.00 | 1 ratings
I Believe in You
1988
5.00 | 2 ratings
Life's What You Make It
1990
5.00 | 1 ratings
Ascension Day
1991

TALK TALK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Live At Montreux 1986 by TALK TALK album cover DVD/Video, 2008
4.83 | 33 ratings

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Live At Montreux 1986
Talk Talk Crossover Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Sublime!

Not everything is bad these quarantine times, if music is present, we are almost automatically healed. My roomate and I have been enjoying our weekends watching full concerts of bands we love, si I had the idea of watching once again this epic, sublime and beautiful Talk Talk concert, after so many years in oblivion.

Talk Talk was an amazing band, Mark Hollis' voice one of a kind, one of my favorite ever, his passing last year made me feel so fragile, but well, he retired from music ages ago, which was a pity. Though I discovered this band with their last two albums, those enigmatic, experimental and post-rock oriented ones, my love for their previous stuff grew up with the years, and now I can say I practically adore each and every of their albums.

Montreux is also known for its epic festivals, bands and artists use to offer magnificent concerts there, and with Talk Talk there was no exception. Since the very first minutes we are trapped with its legendary title-track. "Talk Talk", with a superb 8-musicians line-up, Hollis, Webb, Harris and co., offered a heartfelt, delicious and classy concert. You can tell it by people's faces, they look so happy and crushed by the music, and of course, by Hollis' presence, because his voice is so deep, his amazing vocal range covered any kind of notes, and each note transmitted a diversity of emotions.

The addition of percussion gave a more vivid sound on stage, it was a wise decision, so in moments they were a highlight, in others perfectly worked as background, reminding me a bit of Talking Heads or even Roxy Music. Paul Webb's bass sound is amazing, he also helped with backing vocals, but I would like to highlight his importance not only in this live show, but in Talk Talk's history, because without his creativity, the essence of the band would have been lost. You just have to listen to some wonderful songs (some real hits) like "Dum Dum Girl, "My Foolish Friend" or the famous "It's My Life".

While watching it once again, I felt goosebumps, to witness Mark Hollis' voice and his always passionate performances made me feel completely emotional. "Living in Another World" is one of my favorite songs from the band, but it is also one of the best moments of this Montreux show, so to watch it again and remember its greatness made me feel truly happy. I think there are no weak moments in this show, but I would say "Does Caroline Know", "Give it Up" were also highlights.

The best thing is that when you think the band gave all their hits and all their emotions, they choose the disarming "Renee" to end the show. Whoa, what a performance, truly emotional once again, and the band really professional, what they shared on stage was wonderfully adopted by the audience, but also by us, the ones who watch the show.

Beautiful, a masterpiece! Long live Talk Talk.

 Laughing Stock by TALK TALK album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.96 | 285 ratings

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Laughing Stock
Talk Talk Crossover Prog

Review by johnobvious

1 stars I recently came across another glowing review on PA for this album and around the same time an article about Radiohead and the 20th anniversary of OK Computer. With neither album being something that I found particularly enjoyable, I figured I would listen back to back after seeing them sit on the shelf for many years to see if I might be wrong about one or both. Here I review Talk Talk.

This album is worse than I ever remembered and I thought it was bad before. It is minimalism doubled and then squared. Nothing happens, it is all very quiet and slow. There are a few louder parts but these tend to be cacophonous and shrill and leave no lasting impression. There are not a lot of drums and when they do appear, they really aren't conventional in a time keeping sense, more just to add to the morose nature of it all. The singer mostly whispers and seems to be annoyed that he is asked to sing at all. Somehow, they needed 18 musicians to make next to nothing (really, 7 different viola players?!). I can see the appeal for depressed people who might like to put on the headphones in a dark room to help affirm the fact that the world is evil, but anyone who likes their music to raise their pulse above 10 beats a minute should take a hard pass. My one-star is firm. Even another half is undeserved.

 I Believe in You by TALK TALK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1988
3.00 | 1 ratings

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I Believe in You
Talk Talk Crossover Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars This single contains a reduced version of "I Believe in You", atmospheric ballad voice-keyboards-drums, which in the extended version has a greater charm, due to the greater hypnoticity and the role of the strange central instrumental solo. Here is only a good song, nothing more. Rating 7.5.

Then on the B side there is the outtake " John Cope", more pop-style, more rhythmic but the phrasing on drums refers to other pieces of Spirit of Eden and does not appear particularly original, in fact it is a minor song of Talk Talk. Rating 7+.

Overall modest single, which reaches the three stars for a while, the beauty of the Talk Talk music, arrived at this point lies in the beauty of the project of the entire album, not in the individual episodes.

7+ rating. Three stars.

 Living in Another World by TALK TALK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1986
3.14 | 3 ratings

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Living in Another World
Talk Talk Crossover Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This single features two piano ballads:

1) Living in another world, 45 rpm version i.e. short version. I consider the extended version, that of the LP, better, more intense, capable of reaching higher emotional peaks thanks to the greater development of the melodic, obsessive theme, which reaches paroxysm. However, this version is more concentrated and retains that dramatic mix of vocals, percussion, and keyboards that gives to the song a swirling, mesmeric trend: hence its great charm. Rating 8+.

2) For what it's worth is a ballad, with Paul Webb's bass in evidence, then the keyboards, the drums with the drumsticks that beat on the outline of the snare, It's a pop-jazz song, which could be comparable to some of the Simply Red, but which does not have the same grit, it is atmospheric, and a little too monotonous. Rated 7.5.

45 rpm rating: 8. Three and a half stars.

 Laughing Stock by TALK TALK album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.96 | 285 ratings

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Laughing Stock
Talk Talk Crossover Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Talk Talk loses bassist Paul Webb, replaced by two session men who play acoustic bass, and Hollis with Lee Harris, but in reality with Tim Friese-Greene they publish an even less commercial art-work than the previous one, ever closer to free-jazz and free-folk with chamber ensemble. The sounds seem only hinted at, without being developed, the melodies are almost always truncated, it is music of pure suggestion, which produces evocation of atmospheres.

1. Myrrhman (5:33) Minimalist, jazzy music, Hollis' voice as protagonist, minimal, acoustic orchestral sounds, which are painted softly, almost in a low voice, as if we were at a meditation in the church, great suggestion, a lot of atmosphere, little melody. Rating 7,5.

2. Ascension Day (6:00) Here the drum snare pulses and the electric guitars are distorted, in a cold but dry, hard, almost hard rock arrangement, with a beautiful singing, and after two verses the electric guitar is released with a loud crescendo that ends suddenly. The masterpiece of the album and it is not a case that this is the most gritty song, the only one where the drama deflagrates. Rating 8,5.

3. After the Flood (9:39) Relaxed ballad, marked by keyboards and by the rhythm of the drums, which remains the same from the beginning to the end, and this is a handicap because the beauty of Talk Talk's music is now all in its unpredictability. Here the voice flies on the high notes in the refrain which, however, does not reach the peak of pathos of Spirit of Eden precisely because the rhythm continues always the same, and does not adapt to the dramatic crescendo. Then comes a good distorted guitar solo, which is more of a paroxysmal repetition of the same riff, then a keyboard solo, and finally a verse and chorus again. Atmospheric piece. Rating 7,5/8

End of Side A.

4. Taphead (7:30) Beautiful song, that part suffused, whispered, and then develops a wonderful instrumental part where the accumulated tension struggles to come out, we are at very high levels of refinement, cerebral and cold emotions, and only certain whispers of Hollis' voice or some instruments they bring out the pathos, the drama, which remains almost harnessed, except for a few seconds of final explosion. Rating 8+.

5. New Grass (9:40) This is the second long ballad conducted by the same rhythm of the drums, exactly like After the Flood but here the atmosphere is more cheerful, with an higher rhythm. But the phrases on the drums and on the guitar tend to be too repetitive and the central instrumental solo is almost immobile, Talk Talk seem to aspire to silence or to the ecstatic musical phrase to be left bare. Rating 7+.

6. Runeii (4:58) Minimalist song with voice and electric guitar, similar to the last song of the previous album, which was arranged with keyboards and vocals. This one is too nuanced, too soft. Rating 6,5/7.

Talk Talk continue in their evolution towards post-rock music increasingly similar to free-jazz, cold, sophisticated music, almost chamber music, where the structure of the songs is increasingly disarticulated. The record is remarkable but has a limit: the search for original and minimal sounds becomes conditioning towards the melody and the pathos, In Spirit of Eden, the musical qualities allowed to pass from a slow, dilated music, which had to overcome an inertia, to a music where voice and instruments finally exploded in powerful and dramatic moments. In this second record, the initial, inertial part of the songs is disproportionately dilated, and the final part, deflagrating, cathartic, struggles to arrive, Talk Talk prefer to mention it rather than develop it, so the inertial tension that pervades the songs does not have a true liberating outburst, it remains bottled in sounds and it is expressed only through hinted musical phrases, however beautiful and refined. This characteristic reduces pathos and emotions.

Rating: 8,5. Four Stars

 Spirit Of Eden by TALK TALK album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.15 | 392 ratings

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Spirit Of Eden
Talk Talk Crossover Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Talk Talk are Mark Hollis, Tim Friese-Greene and a lot of session men, firsts Paul Webb and Lee Harris, and musicians of chamber music.

After two minutes and 15 seconds of atmospheric music, I would say ambient music, with sounds that combine rock with jazz and with a chamber ensemble, the distorted, croaking electric guitar and the percussion start, and finally Hollis' voice arrives: this is the beginning of one of the most beautiful facades of a Lp in the history of rock.

As Piero Scaruffi rightly wrote, it is a music that proceeds slowly, as if it were to overcome a very strong inertia, such that to develop a musical phrase the sound struggles to articulate the disease, it is held back, then finally the fuse lights up, and in this case Hollis's phenomenally sounding electric guitar and his voice, which in fact delineates two rhythmic verses but slow and a refrain where the sound becomes acute and angelic, and as rightly happens after two verses and a refrain, the solo arrives, which here consists of chamber music on which Hollis's croaking guitar rises, to make a sound orgasm that for a few seconds is almost unbearable. We are at the highest levels of contemporary music - Rainbow: rating 9+.

Finally, Hollis's voice returns, and the song fades, with the same initial inertia, the voice just a whisper, and begins, mixed with the first, the second song, which proceeds with the same inertia: in the beginning only dissonant brass sounds and trumpets, then the guitar and percussion starts

Again we are faced with two stanzas and two refrains, where this time Hollis' voice sings full and dramatic, and is followed by a dissonant loud din, then the trumpets, the song is easier and more linear than the previous one, but it preserves exactly the same sound as guitar, percussion, voice, with chamber music in the background, reaching however much more noisy and dramatic peaks - Eden: rating 8,5.

Then, mixed with the previous one, Desire begins, with a threatening slow guitar riff, this time we are faced with an impending rhythm, which foreshadows a sound explosion that happens shortly after: voice and drums act as a theater for a climax again almost unbearable, cacophonic, noisy, which it describes a disintegration of personality, a destructive landscape. Voice and guitar, with keyboard background, start again, and then give life to the second sound explosion, which does not stop, continues with tribal rhythm (thanks to a great Lee Harris) and distorted guitar. Crossover rock has nothing to do with it, the true prog nature of Talk Talk is post-rock mixed with free jazz and slow core. Paroxysmal ending, which then returns to the initial slow guitar riff - Desire: rating: 9.

Rating side A: 10. One of the best in the history of rock (not only prog-rock) music.

Inheritance (5:23) is a song that again has a dilated structure verse and refrain, where Hollis' voice goes on high notes, in a sweet way, then there is an instrumental interlude of chamber music, and then the voice starts again, which reaches its climax when Hollis puts more intensity into it. We are still at excellent levels, and we have maintained a good level of pathos, but the sound is different from that of the first side, it is less electric, and softer, Rating 8+.

Then a rhythmic song starts, I Believe in You, the first and the only one in which the drum snare keeps the rhythm from beginning to end, with keyboards in the background, and instrumental interlude similar to those of the previous record. This is the single of the album, the most commercial song, however slow and meditative, and has completely lost the dramatic explosions of the voice, we are in the field of serenity, spiritual, celestial music. The level is still good but it has become more normal. Rating 7,5/8.

The second side has three unmixed songs and with a distinct sound from each other, unlike the first and the quality drops slowly, it is no longer extraordinary as that of the first. In particular, the free jazz and chamber music arrangement is lost, to arrive at a more sober and traditional one, the last song, Wealth, is in fact only voice and keyboards, and takes place on three skinny verses plus chorus,

Talk Talk lose their arrangement orchestral and become minimalist, risking becoming a bit monotonous. It is a piece that anticipates Hollis' usual work. The song is not bad, indeed is good but the three-minute fading instrumental tail is completely useless. Rating 7+

The second side is not beautiful as the first: rating 8,5.

I can't give 10/10 to this album for the second side but anyway, overall, despite not having three songs mixed, the second facade is also coherent, and gradually goes towards a more sober and minimalist music that remains of an excellent quality for 5 songs over 6, so ... absolute masterpiece,

Rating 9,5/10 .

Five Stars.

 The Colour Of Spring by TALK TALK album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.79 | 214 ratings

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The Colour Of Spring
Talk Talk Crossover Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

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.

 The Party's Over by TALK TALK album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.73 | 103 ratings

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The Party's Over
Talk Talk Crossover Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

3 stars First album of this Scottish band, who soon became well known in Italy.

We are in the perimeter of new romantic music crossing synth-pop (bad sound of the drums, no guitar, only percussion, keayboards and vocals) and the one and only peculiarity of Talk Talk is the dramatic voice by Mark Hollis, the front-man and leader and main composer.

1. Talk Talk (3:23) is a good synth -pop, with a sustained rhythm, enthralling. The climax is reached in the instrumental part, with piano (Brenner) and bass (Paul Webb), then come Hollis' voice and the percussions (Harris). Rating 7,5.

2. It's So Serious (3:21) is another potential pop single, with a catchy chorus but the song become soon too repetitive. Rating 7.

3. Today (3:30) is the third song with a catchy melody: at this point this album looks like a collection of singles with which to climb the ranking. This time, however, the electronic sound is more sophisticated, and Hollis' voice together with the dark, almost gothic atmosphere and the rhythmic progression reaches a peak of the Talk Talk production and makes Today a small commercial masterpiece. Rating 8+.

4. The Party's Over (6:12) is the first variation: not just a commercial song long 3 minutes but a keyboard ballad of 6 minutes. This time the rhythm and the mood is more melancholic. the song stands on the same melancholy mood from start to finish, only that as time goes by, the volume rises, the intensity of Hollis' voice becomes bigger and more dramatic and desperate. Long final fading tail. Rating 8.

End of Side A.

5. Hate (3:58) is supported by a tribal rhythm, thanks to the deafening percussion, it is the most aggressive song on the album, with a very powerful chorus, maybe too much noise. Rated 7,5 /8.

6. Have You Heard the News? (5:07) is slow pop ballad, with a good melody, dominated by the keyboards. Rating 8.

7. Mirror Man (3:21) is a melodic but rhythmic, conventional, repetitive pop song, perhaps the lowest point of the album. Rating 6+.

8. Another World (3:14) is a rhythmic song, based on keyboards, commercial easy listening, but good grip, however, it is repetetive near the end: another minor song. Rating 6,5.

9. Candy (4:41) Song written by Hollis alone, it has a nice game of percussion and bass, the Simple Minds are around the corner. The intensity of Hollis' voice and the skill of the arrangements make it a good track. Rating 7.5 / 8.

With this song ends an album that has nothing taken from prog, but represents the starting point of an extraordinary band, which still has Brenner on keyboards, and half of the songs composed by the whole group: Hollis will take complete domination with Friese- Greene after the second album.

This debut record is very good, medium quality of the songs:7,44. Rating album: 7,5/8.

Three Stars.

 The Party's Over by TALK TALK album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.73 | 103 ratings

BUY
The Party's Over
Talk Talk Crossover Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

2 stars Do we have to comment an album for its music of for its proggyness? In the second case, let's start saying that this album doesn't contain anything even remotely progressive. Imagine Bryan FERRY singing with ULTRAVOX and you'll have an idea. Well, we have JAPAN on this site which despite having been home of David SYLVIAN were even less progressive than TALK TALK. So is it a prog album? No. Should it be for this release only, I wouldn't understand why this band is featured here. Surprisingly their last two albums deserved them a place, and it's only thanks to PA if I happened to listen to them.

Is this a bad album? Surely not. It's a standardized 80s sound, but there are some musical ideas (and I confess I like Ultravox enough), This doesn't mean that it's bad. When they don't think to make danceable music, like in "The Party's Over", they are quite enjoyable. And if you aren't looking for prog, this can be a nice background to your activity.

There's some fretless bass on "Hate", but it was normal in the 80s. Two years after this album CAMEL's Stationary Traveller will have plenty of fretless. The choir has also a strange similarity with BOWIE's "Labyrinth" .

I think the worst aspect of music in the 80s was the "search for modern sound", as they were actually used to call it, but it resulted in an excessive standardization: Yamaha DX7, Fretless Bass, Drone or just electronic Drums and deep voice in David BOWIE's style. The Talk Talk debut doesn't miss any of those aspects.

This album is on PA only because the band later released something more in line with the site's requirements. If you are looking for prog, this is the wrong album.

Not bad anyway.

 The Colour Of Spring by TALK TALK album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.79 | 214 ratings

BUY
The Colour Of Spring
Talk Talk Crossover Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

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.

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