Talk Talk – Laughing Stock

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Published on 21 February 2019 by

      Jason Ankeny: ‘ Virtually ignored upon its initial release,Talk Talk – Laughing Stock continues to grow in stature and influence by leaps and bounds. Picking up where Spirit of Eden left off, the album operates outside of the accepted sphere of rock to create music which is both delicate and intense; recorded with a large classical ensemble, it defies easy categorization, conforming to very few structural precedents — while the gently hypnotic “Myrrhman” flirts with ambient textures, the percussive “Ascension Day” drifts toward jazz before the two sensibilities converge to create something entirely new and different on “New Grass.” The epic “After the Flood,” on the other hand, is an atmospheric whirlpool laced with jackhammer guitar feedback and Mark Hollis’ remarkably plaintive vocals; it flows into “Taphead,” perhaps the most evocative, spacious, and understated piece on the record. A work of staggering complexity and immense beauty, Laughing Stock remains an under-recognized masterpiece, and its echoes can be heard throughout much of the finest experimental music issued in its wake.’

      Matthew Cooke: ‘Dreamy and loose, Talk Talk – Laughing Stock turns 180 degrees away from the ’80s pop sound of It’s My Life and runs headlong into a web of Brian Eno, avant-garde, jazz, and experimental structure. The songs ache with languid phrases and the naked, vulnerable voice of Mark Hollis, the only element of the band that remains perceptible from their verse-chorus-verse past. The bashing, off-time clatter of “Ascension Day”; the impossibly patient organ motif snaking into a wailing guitar string in “After the Flood”; the terrifying, beautiful silences that engulf “Runeii” and “Myrrhman”; and the teetering, defenseless vocal Hollis lays down on “New Grass”–it all adds up to a stellar, shockingly original work that shreds all pretense of genre limitations, finding a transcendence in the light and shadow of musical color.’

 

Talk Talk – Laughing Stock Tracklist

  1. Myrrhman
  2. Ascension Day
  3. After The Flood
  4. Taphead
  5. New Grass
  6. Runeii

Talk Talk - Laughing Stock

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