Album I can't live without: Talk Talk Talk
The album I can't live without
I came to Talk Talk Talk by The Psychedelic Furs by accident. I had bought The Psychedelic Furs' debut single Sister Europe in 1980 and I loved its depressing world weariness.
I hadn't got around to buying the self-titled parent debut album, but would play this single regularly, well, thrash it mercilessly is probably a better description.
About a year later a mate of mine rung me to tell me he had been in to Sounds Unlimited and pre-ordered me a copy of the next PFurs album, due for release in a month, and they would be expecting payment. I thought this was a weird thing for him to do. I had only liked that one song and I stopped thrashing about six months back.
I puzzled about this out-of-character behaviour for a month until I got a call from Robin at Sounds telling me my album was in. I drove in first thing the next day and wandered down to Sounds, had a flick through the imports, grabbed a couple and picked up my pre-ordered copy of Talk Talk Talk. I looked at the cover, not being one to usually judge by it, but it looked a little insipid with black and white with some random coloured shapes.
Oh well, I thought, if the album is truly awful, someone will get an earful!
I drove home, careful to keep the vinyl out of the sun and sat down with my purchases. I was much more excited by the imports but I thought 'let's get it over and done with' and cued up Talk Talk Talk side one. At the end of side one I was completely stunned. I got up, dazed, and turned it over to play side two, only to find more of the same.
I looked at the clock. It was still morning (just). I ran out, jumped in to the car and shot up to my local record shop where I had seen the first PFurs album among the top 40 hogwash that was usually sold in South Auckland. Arriving just before Warren (in those days I was on first name terms with most record shop folk. I probably should've just handed over my wage packet to them) was closing. I raced over, found the debut album was still there, handed him the cash, gibbered insanely about how amazing the new album was and raced off again.
As soon as I got home I played Talk Talk Talk again and again and then the debut album, which was pretty good. While I loved Sister Europe it was like someone had put a blowtorch down their collective creative undies to create this stunner of a disc. The difference between the first and the second was so huge.
The new songs were delivered in Richard Butler's brash, nasal vocal over a poppy, urgent, noisy and, let's face it, a slightly weird musical background of chiming and choppy guitars from John Ashton and Roger Morris. They had fluid bass lines from Richard's brother Tim Butler, the howling sax of Duncan Kilburn and inventive drumming from soon to be honorary Dance Exponent Vince Ely.
Two singles were cut from this album: The plainly odd Dumb Waiters and the fairly obvious track Pretty In Pink. The latter would be rerecorded and re-issued four years later to support some American teen movie of the same name.
Thirty plus years later this album still shimmers and sparkles like it did when I first heard it. While the PFurs would continue to release albums nothing would touch what they achieved with Talk Talk Talk - an 80s high-water mark for music.
What album can't you live without? Click the big green button to give your review.
View all contributions