Of all the band’s whose evolution over their lifespan might not have been expected, Talk Talk might well top the list. Lead by Mark Hollis, who died today aged 64, they went from being seen as possible new romantic rivals to Duran Duran around the time of their 1982 debut, The Party’s Over and its accomplished follow-up It’s My Life (1984) to laying the groundwork for Radiohead and post-rock over the trio of records that is The Colour Of Spring (1986), Spirit Of Eden (1988) and Laughing Stock (1991).
So here, in tribute, a track from each of those five albums, and one from his only solo album.
From 1982’s The Party’s Over, the eponymous single ‘Talk Talk.’ Sure you can hear the similarity to acts like Duran, Visage and A Flock Of Seagulls, but there’s a scope here that suggests they are thinking beyond the nightclubs of London town.
From 1984’s It’s My Life, the title track (later covered by No Doubt). This wouldn’t be the last time there would be an animal flavoured video.
From 1986’s The Colour Of Spring ‘Life’s What You Make It.’ Another animal-featuring video…one of their best known songs.
Whilst 1988’s Spirit Of Eden didn’t produce any big hit singles, it showed that the band had moved on leaps and bounds even from the changes that had come about on their previous album. It shows a link with pastoral records like Virginia Astley’s From Gardens Where We Feel Secure (1983) and points to post-rock, particularly bands like Sigur Ros.
The band’s final album would become even more minimalist – and links to bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor!, and possibly full circle to early 80’s contemporaries like David Sylvian. This opening track is seemingly about suicide but utterly beautiful.
Mark’s sole release under his own name was his 1998 eponymous album from which this is taken. Just brilliant.
He retired from the music business to focus on bringing up his two sons. 17 Seconds sends best wishes to his family and friends.