Spirit of EdenAlbum |
A mysterious, spiritual, sensual masterwork.
Talk Talk went on quite a musical voyage before arriving at this perplexing, utterly groundbreaking landmark. After starting out as a standard synth-pop act, they gradually found their voice through a pair of mid-'80s albums that managed to balance bright pop melodies and sonic experimentation. But for Spirit of Eden, the quartet immersed themselves in studio indulgence, blacking out the windows and improvising over stark chord progressions with the aid of over a dozen session veterans from classical, rock, and jazz backgrounds. Gone are the synthesizers and electronics of The Party's Over and It's My Life, replaced by the warm atmosphere of pianos, horns, strings, and live percussion. The album unfolds slowly -- very slowly. Frontman Mark Hollis still sings as if he has a severe cold, but the hooks of their earlier hits are now non-existent. Instead, he unfurls abstract webs of spiritual imagery through pared-down poetry, often singing only a note or two throughout a whole verse. The music is a dark bed of ambient jazz, each electric guitar chord, tom-tom hit, and muted trumpet arriving with atom-bomb-like impact in the songs' stone-cold starkness. "Rainbow" commences the ceremony with a swirling layer of strings and alien feedback; eventually, an ethereal guitar burst introduces the song's low-key midnight groove, punctuated by ghost-town harmonica and a dense thicket of percussion. Five tracks follow, each an equally-weighted maze of mysterious sensuality and spiritual uplift. As the accidental inventors of post-rock, Talk Talk set an intimidating blueprint few bands have since touched.
|I Believe In You|