Psychedelic Furs - Talk Talk Talk
This album is and has remained one of my all time personal favourites since I first got the vinyl nearly 30 years ago. Having recently picked up the extended and remastered CD, I can now content myself with a pristine version which lacks the annoying clicks and fuzziness which had built up over a quarter of a century of almost continuous play. This new version retains the same fuzzy sound as the original, but is embellished with a few extra tracks which showcase earlier versions of some familiar Furs highlights.
The album opener, "Dumb Waiters", really sets the scene for where the rest of the album is going. Swirling distorted guitars over a relentless drum beat and overlaid with some crazy sax playing provides a great way to start and album. And in a typical piece of bravado, the last tinklings of the piano do not finish before the next track begins. This was the Furs at their (almost) best. Having opened so strongly, the band then proceeded to go one better with one of the most iconic tracks of the whole of the post punk era. Anyone who does not like "Pretty in Pink" is lacking something. This album would be worth buying for that one track alone. The version here is the original, the way it was meant to be, before the eponymous film with Molly Ringwald came out. This is, without a shred of doubt, the Psychedelic Furs at their absolute best.
From here until the end of the original album, there follows one good song after another. Whereas the first album was dark and brooding, this manages to retain the manic, almost psychotic visions of The Psychedelic Furs but in a more accessible vein. Everything just came together perfectly on this album in a way that few bands will ever achieve, and which the Furs were never to be able to recapture. Shortly after this, and in the light of the minor success of "Pretty in Pink" in the charts, the desire of some members of the band to strive for commercial success deprived them of the drive to create such masterpieces again.
Listen to the in-your-face anti-romance of "I Wanna Sleep with You", the mesmerising sound of "Mrs Jones" or the driving "Into You Like a Train" before the album climaxes with "All Of This And Nothing", another Furs classic combining meaningless lyrics detailing the shambles of a failed relationship with cascading guitars and overlaid sax. There are no fillers here, nothing you would want to skip over. And it is all still as immediate and as electrifying as when it first came out. Albums like this are what made 1981 one of the best years ever for music.
At a time when the post punks were at their peak (and this was the start of probably two to three years of great post punk music), this album stands out as one of the greatest. The Furs were part of my youth along with Fischer-Z, The Smiths, The Chameleons and The Cure. They were there through all the highs and lows of university and the immediate period after it. The Furs accompanied me on my journey into adulthood and perhaps, because of the affection I had for them from their earlier days, stayed around me a tad longer than they might otherwise have done. Not as political as some, not as stark as others, but one of the greats, with a unique sound coming together on a truly unique moment in musical history.
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