Thursday, August 9, 2007

Come back to me Mark Hollis

Talk Talk has the most fascinating history. They began as an full-on new wave outfit and then found success as a pop band. But they gained true critical respect and success as their sound expanded and they then peaked as they pushed boundaries through layers of instruments like the harmonium and dobro and, most significantly, as they honoured the quiet moments that make these songs so haunting.

For me, when I first saw the video for "Life's what you make it" back in '86 my life was changed forever. Bye bye Rush. Bye bye Ozzy, Headpins, Streeheart. Hello the Smiths, REM, James, the Woodentops, Easterhouse, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions... (yes, my life was changed by someone depressing the black keys on a piano in the middle of a forest at night).

By the early 90's Talk Talk were pretty much no more. Unfortunately, their legacy remains their "it's my life" era pop. Good stuff - but not the heart of Talk Talk. Not what they worked towards all those years. Plus, there are some incredibly bland covers of "it's my life" by weak pop outfits out there. Stuff that literally makes me walk out of grocery stores when i hear it over the p.a.

Two thirds of Talk Talk formed the short-lived, experimental O.rang after the demise and then one of these guys, Paul Webb, became Rustin Man to Portishead's Beth Gibbons. Main man Mark Hollis, however, produced an even more minimal solo album than later day Talk Talk... and then seemingly disappeared.

Highlighted below is "I believe in you". Its from 1988's Spirit of Eden album, their second to last album. When I really think about such things, I would say that this is my number 1 album of all time... ever... by anyone. Mark's singing conveys his emotions as well as anyone. On this track in particular you can actually hear the lump in his throat.

Haunting, crescendo-based, timeless... shiver inducing:

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

yes, truly most haunting album ever. i find it hard to believe i'll ever meet a person who appreciates even half as much as i do. and it makes me feel a bit lonely....

Anonymous said...

his solo album is probably one of the most intimate recorde ever. don't know why, but somehow i connect it with david sylvians blemish.

Anonymous said...

The Best Album ever.
La perfection !
Michel

Dave said...

Astounding post. Talk Talk are my favourite band, and I see your profile name is very similar to one I use.

The handwritten lyrics for 'I Believe in You', where did you get those?