Friday, April 9, 2010

Talk Talk - Laughing Stock (1991)

Talk Talk was at first a new wavey synth dance band in the early '80s and morphed into pretentious art-rockers into the '90s, a move that appears (to the label heads at EMI) to be career suicide. I think it's one of the greatest stories of modern music: band makes Duran Duran-esque club tunes, band gets big record deal, band says "fuck off" to synthesizers and '80s excess, band makes three successive records the way they want to make them (1986's The Colour Of Spring, 1988's Spirit of Eden and this album in '91), band loses fans, record deal, etc. Yet band escapes from the industry somewhat unscathed, with suitcase full of money and unflappable creative license to make one of the landmark albums in the post-rock genre.

I still haven't figured out what post-rock means, but I think this is it. It's actually closer to jazz than anything else. Laughing Stock, if anything- was one of the albums that metaphorically killed the '80s by smashing all barriers associated with what can be considered pop by deconstructing it by its constituent parts and re-assembling it into this sprawling and massive masterpiece.

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