Laughing Stock | Classic

Classic Albums Talk Talk

The final haunting record from the legendary Talk Talk is a staple of post-rock and a monumental goodbye.

By 1991, Talk Talk had been working on Laughing Stock for the better part of a year. Mark Hollis's vision for the band had taken them on a sonic descent into sparse soundscapes driven by improvisation and atmosphere in contrast to their initial pop sound. The recording sessions placed musicians in a strobe-lit room and attempt to play to each other without any written music in for hours on end. With over fifty musicians contributing to the recording, only eighteen of which would be credited on the final album. Hollis allegedly removed 80% for the overall recordings to piece together what would become 'Laughing Stock'. This almost collage-like approach results in a dissonant final product, each song aiming to invoke or explore a theme rather than create a 'song'.

The bands previous album 'Spirit of Eden' (1988) saw the band double down on their creative integrity and all but abandon their initial new wave, synth-heavy brand. The album saw them fail commercially and dropped from their label, which freed the band to further dive into the ideas presented on Eden. The two albums are a perfect brother-sister pairing considering their similarities in ambient sounds and structures.

From the bare-bones opener 'Myrrhman' to the quiet levity of 'Runeii', the album creates an emotional reaction like no other. The minimalist approach to invoking existential dread through biblical reference and a slow-burning layered instrumental approach executes a vision for music that is as groundbreaking as it is intimate.

Both 'Laughing Stock' and 'Spirit of Eden' are available in the store now.


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