Talk Talk–Live at Montreux 1986

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Posted October 30, 2008 in The Small Screen

England’s Talk Talk were rare proof that pop and prog needn’t be mutually exclusive. Best known for having their insistent 1986 single “It’s My Life” covered by No Doubt in ’03 is scant reward for the four albums of brave and intelligent, otherworldly yet accessible music the trio created in their decade together. Filmed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1986, at the height of Talk Talk’s powers and popularity (just after the release of The Colour of Spring), this DVD isn’t so much a spectacular visual treat—a handful of camera angles, a few tilted frames and unnecessary close-ups—as it is a document of a spectacular performance. With the core trio of vocalist Mark Hollis, drummer Lee Harris and bassist Paul Webb fleshed-out to an eight-piece, including two keyboard players and a brace of percussionists, (plus a shockingly defined mix), Talk Talk convincingly recreate their lonely-yet-lush studio sounds. True musos are often uncomfortable with the stage’s sonic compromises, but Talk Talk deliver with considerable gusto, the business-casual Hollis in particular a surprise. Atop Webb’s functionally articulate basslines, Harris’ focused beats and an at times over-traditional hired-gun guitar, Hollis’ tremulous vocals are even more tortured and succulent than on disc, and his almost involuntary enthusiasm is curiously compelling. Live at Montreux puts a human face on an exquisite, single-minded band who’re too often associated with distant studio indulgence and whose sheer monstrous creativity soon consumed them (shortly after its filming Talk Talk quit performing live for good). (Paul Rogers)

Eagle Eye Media, 90 Minutes 


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