The Psychedelic Furs - Talk Talk Talk

by Jeff Penczak Rating:9 Release Date:1981-06-06
The Psychedelic Furs - Talk Talk Talk
The Psychedelic Furs - Talk Talk Talk

Released the day after singer Butler Rep's (now reverting to his given name, Richard Butler) 25th birthday, The Furs’ sophomore effort lays waste to the old “sophomore jinx” albatross. The final album with the original sextet, Talk Talk Talk would arguably signal the end of the fuller sound generated by departing second guitarist Roger Morris and, more importantly, sax player Duncan Kilburn, whose sinewy fills were essential to the band’s original sound. The album also found the band moving in a more commercial direction, jettisoning the moody, dark, almost gothy overtones of debut album tracks like ‘Sister Europe’ and ‘Imitation of Christ’ for more accessible singles like the evergreen ‘Pretty In Pink’ and the aggressive adrenaline rush of ‘Mr. Jones’.

Fans filled notebooks with interpretations of Butler’s enigmatic lyrics, which contained some of his best couplets (“The one who insists he was first in the line/Is the last to remember her name”; “You didn't leave me anything/That I can understand/Now I'm left with all of this/A room full of your trash”; “You have to be crazy to stay in this place/You just have to laugh at it all”), and yet buried the album title inside one of the album’s most forgettable tracks! The mysterious Caroline even returns from the debut’s ‘India’ for all the world to fall in love with! At least he jettisoned the cloying namedropping (Frank Sinatra, Sophia Loren, Charles Aznavour, Brigitte Bardot) and pilfering childhood favourites (The Supremes’ ‘Baby Love’, Small Faces ‘Sha La La’, Al Jolson).

Still, there are musical breadcrumbs from the debut that tie the albums together (‘Into You Like A Train’ is essentially a rewrite of ‘Pulse’, while opener ‘Dumb Waiters’ continues the Butler rap so prevalent on the earlier album. But it’s the nostalgic, sentimentalism of ‘All of This and Nothing’ and ‘She Is Mine’ that assure not a dry eye in the house will be returning the record to its sleeve. Butler may come across as a brash tosser with an overactive Bowie fixation, but it’s hard not to feel sympathy for the way the girls have treated him as he commiserates with his mum over broken hearts and lost opportunities.

Despite containing their biggest hit (and that only upon the eponymous soundtrack re-recording), Talk Talk Talk was their weakest seller before they jumped the shark after ‘89’s Midnight To Midnight. But it deserves another evaluation for the subtleties hidden within its deeper tracks.

 

Overall Rating (2)

5 out of 5 stars