Review Summary: The only thing left to do is marvel. And marvel I shall.
There's always a sense that Laughing Stock
has the ability to consume you, to let go of its singular drive and zoom out of control with you strapped in. It's like a perpetual game of Russian Roulette. Laughing Stock
is comprised mainly of brooding, melodic grooves but every so often the album starts bleeding dissonance ("After The Flood's" crash-landing middle section) as if an attempt to escape itself. Laughing Stock
wants to break free, but the coolest thing about it is that it never does. No matter how many stabs chaos tries to inflict, Laughing Stock
pushes along, either afraid to delve or perhaps coming to the realization that this is home all along.
Either way, Laughing Stock
is incredibly beautiful, as Talk Talk layer lush upon surreal, beauty upon melody, Mark Hollis stopping in every so often to give a burst of quiet intensity. His voice only pops up when needed, never letting the vocals take anything away from the gorgeous songs behind them. Hollis sounds deeply saddened, or perhaps angry, contradicting the music in such a way that it feels like the music has moved on without Hollis, him still kneeling in the corner, unable to let go of the pain. Laughing Stock
is where Hollis wants to be, reflecting in an open, sunny field, and I can't help but feel that as he strives to get there, he knows he won't make it. Thus you get songs like "New Grass", a beautiful garden enclosed in unbreakable glass, unreachable. So the only thing left to do is marvel, and marvel I shall. Unpredictable organs pierce the beauty with skeptical warmth as melodies bloom and blossom, drown and resurface, all overshadowed by truly one of the most simply beautiful piano lines I can remember.
For what it's worth, Laughing Stock
will stun you. Always on the verge of letting you in, it never truly does, so the only thing left to do is marvel. And marvel I shall.