Talk Talk's visionary: Mark Hollis's ambition co-existed with commercial success
With enigmatic lyrics and aspirations to rival Shostakovich, Hollis considered himself the leader of a jazz band which should never stop innovating
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The intricate orchestration and classical impulses of 1988’s Spirit of Eden and 1991’s Laughing Stock cemented Talk Talk as musical visionaries. But the driving force behind these albums showed flashes of iconoclastic brilliance even on the group’s most accessible, commercially successful early works.
At first, Mark Hollis and his Talk Talk bandmates – bassist Paul Webb, drummer Lee Harris and keyboardist Simon Brenner – employed subtle subversion. On Talk Talk’s 1982 full-length debut, the sophisti-pop totem The Party’s Over, the band assumed the role of new wave tastemakers indebted to Japan and Roxy Music, courtesy of moody bass lines, whimsical keyboards, and compact arrangements. Yet Hollis’s lyrics, which contained allusions to religious imagery, as well as ruminations on betrayal, social upheaval and identity, hinted at far darker and more substantial matters.
Source: The Guardian – Talk Talk's visionary: Mark Hollis's ambition co-existed with commercial success