It must be admitted; I had for the longest time a rather negative view on Talk Talk. I first discovered Talk Talk via their first singles - Talk Talk and Today - that became moderate hits. Despite being decent songs, the group was an obvious Duran Duran light outfit, with Duran's same producer on the helm and the name in the same vein as Duran.
Some respect was added when It's My Life, Dum Dum Girl and Such a Shame were released. All 3 remain pop classics. I even became tempted buying their Colour of Spring album based on very favorable reviews and the hits Living in Another World and Life's What You Make It. Like so many other people, I settled for their Natural History collection which I have listened to regularly for many years.
That collection included 2 of the songs on Spirit of Eden. They did not, however, fit in any way with the rest of the collection so I most often simply stopped listening at that point. Having, however, read rave reviews about the album for many years, I became curious to hear how it actually is. Could it be that as a whole, it sounds better than the fragments I had heard on the Natural History collection? I finally gave in and bought it a couple of years ago. In most cases, such shots in the dark lead to nowhere (Arcade Fire and Sufjan Stevens are recent examples). This time I struck, however, gold.
This is a demanding album and really unlike almost everything else. Yet, I became instantly hooked on it. I have been constantly playing it since I bought it, always discovering new dimensions. Being such a unique album, it is difficult describing the music. The songs are long (only six of them) and in most cases relatively mellow. Comparisons that come to mind are David Sylvian, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd and Radiohead. Of course, these artists differ widely in styles but that simply underlines how difficult it is to pinpoint this album.
I have now bought Talk Talk's other great albums, The Colour of Spring and Laughing Stock. Both are fantastic in different ways. For me, though, Spirit of Eden is their best album and is part of my short desert island music list.