Talk Talk reissues
The British group Talk Talk existed from 1981 until 1991. They had a string of international hit singles including Today, Talk Talk, It's My Life, Such A Shame, Dum Dum Girl, Life's What You Make It, Living In Another World and Give It Up. In the later years the band's commercial appeal receded, but their critical reputation increased as they moved from synthpop to a more experimental type of music. Their final two albums, Spirit Of Eden and Laughing Stock, were highly acclaimed and remain influential to experimental alternative rock genres, especially post-rock. The most important members were Tim Friese-Greene (keyboards, guitars) and Mark Hollis (lead vocals, keyboards, guitars). In 2012 the four albums they recorded for EMI got a re-release.
The Party's Over, the band's debut album, was released in July 1982 and produced by Colin Thurston, who was a former engineer for David Bowie, but he was better known for producing Duran Duran's first two albums. The album itself was not a huge success, but in some countries like the UK, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand, Talk Talk scored their first single hits with Today and a re-release of Talk Talk. Although the band belonged to the synthpop genre in those early days, you could already notice that they were able to write serious songs that appealed to an audience that usually never listen to commercial sounding chart singles. The band were introduced to a wider audience in October 1982 at Milton Keynes Bowl when they supported Genesis at their reunion concert with original lead singer Peter Gabriel.
Talk Talk achieved considerable international success particularly in Europe with their second album It's My Life (1984). The accompanying single Such A Shame became a hit in Austria, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Switzerland. The title track was also a hit in Italy, the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand and The Netherlands. The third single Dum Dum Girl was successful in some European countries and in New Zealand, but in the UK the album and the singles were largely ignored. Once more the album proved that they could write good songs that became hit singles as well.
Eventually they abandoned the new wave style with
The success of The Colour Of Spring afforded the band a bigger budget and a schedule for the recording of their next album. About a year in the making and featuring contributions from many musicians, Spirit Of Eden was released in 1988 as their fourth album. The album was assembled from many hours of improvised instrumentation that Hollis and Friese-Greene had edited and arranged using digital equipment. The result was a mixture of rock, jazz, progressive rock, classical, and ambient music. Although critically praised, the album was not as successful as its predecessors. Critics often view Spirit Of Eden as a new departure from Talk Talk's previous albums. However, it has been acknowledged as being an influence in the musical development of a number of later musicians of alternative rock and its subgenres.
In 1990, Talk Talk signed a two-album contract and in 1991 they recorded Laughing Stock after which they disbanded in 1992 as Hollis wished to focus on his children. Tim Friese-Greene started to record under the name Heligoland. In 1998, Mark Hollis released his eponymous debut album, which was much in the vein of the minimalist post-rock sound of Spirit Of Eden and Laughing Stock. He retired from the music scene shortly afterwards. Talk Talk's influence upon musicians is rather big; they are credited as one of the first bands that invented post-rock as you could hear on their last two albums. A band as Sigur Růs has played Talk Talk songs before their shows several times. Other bands and artists that have claimed to be influenced include Catherine Wheel, Radiohead, Elbow and Shearwater.
Devotees of progressive rock regard Spirit Of Eden and The Colour Of Spring as being outstanding albums. Especially Spirit Of Eden contains beautiful Mellotron-parts enjoyed by many people. However, I think It's My Life is a fine album as well with an organic connection between good commercial music and progressive rock. Songs as It's My Life and Such A Shame hold strong instrumental parts that I loved all the way. In a way Talk Talk did the same as the Simple Minds did with their music. They both appealed to prog rock lovers; therefore it's no shame at all if you have albums from these bands in your collection.
People who buy one of these reissues get an album of which the art work differs from the original designs. Singer Mark Hollis found some time to rearrange them. Unfortunately none of these re-releases comprise special mixed versions of the singles released in those days. However, The Colour Of Spring has been released as a Special Edition which means that it's out on LP as well. In addition the DVD-version has a 96KHZ/24 bit stereo mix plus the B-side It's Getting Late In The Evening. The same applies to Spirit Of Eden which has been released on vinyl as well. The DVD-version again has a 96KHZ/24 bit stereo mix plus the B-side John Cope as a bonus track.
*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?
Talk Talk on Myspace
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