Review Summary: Spirit of Eden easily serves as one of the quintessential albums regarding what could happen if a band thinks outside the box and experiments.
Every genre goes through different phases of development and post rock’s inception humbly began here. Though not completely developed yet, Spirit of Eden
basically laid down the blueprint paper as opposed to its successor which literally flushed it out. Essentially, this album marked the first glimpse into a whole new spectrum of music and a phenomenal one at that. Instead of catchy riffs, dominating synthesizers and corny glam metal hits that were the current craze, Talk Talk chose to experiment to great effect. Spirit of Eden
is an imaginative take on alternative music driven by textured guitar playing and incredible instrumental variety. It’s truly a testament of how simply experimenting into new territory can create something entirely fresh for said avenue of art.
“The Rainbow” automatically reveals the true nature of what the listener is about to delve into. Though some patience is indeed required to hear its payoff, but it grows into something quite tranquil. After the first two minutes of sheer ambiance, the beautiful guitar tone comes in, along with the sudden onset of the harmonica, along with countless others. The harmonica proved to be undoubtedly unexpected, as well as many other instruments that grace its euphoric mood. Along with the harmonica comes the dense layering of piano, keyboards, various woodwinds and the more traditional ones into the atmosphere. Not only this, but the vocals sing in such a gentle manner that it will only make the listener feel an overwhelming sense of warmth. Unlike traditional rock when listening with headphones, nothing ever blares into the ears with this album even at a high volume. Everything melds and builds upon itself perfectly for one of the most soothing opening track experiences. These qualities easily carry over into “Eden” as well, which directly succeeds the track. Even though no track really measures up to the impression that these two tracks leave, the rest of the album certainly holds up in its wake nonetheless.
“Desire” unveils more of the dynamics of the album, with it going a bit heavier than the rest of them. The beginning showcases fantastic minimalism as the soothing vocals, soaring melodies and quiet guitars pave the way. The heavier parts feature brilliant little crescendos with memorable guitar riffs and drumming as well. Meanwhile, the minimalism of this track serves as the basic meat of the album and any section like this never disappoints. “I Believe In You” proves to be no exception to this claim. As the lush guitar textures and vocals heighten the atmosphere, the keyboards and organs come in soon after, bringing about spacey “ahhs” to close out the song in grand fashion. It’s a unique way end the track and one of the best moments of the album. “Wealth” also increases the minimalism even more, closing out the record with a subtle bang. Ambient at heart and ethereally beautiful, it’s a song that truly creates a thought provoking mood and serves as a brilliant transition into their swan song album.
The only problems that exist with Spirit of Eden
would be how the vocals occasionally irk the listener. Though not entirely bad throughout, he literally sounds like he has a frog in his throat in “Inheritance.” It takes away from the versatile atmosphere of the song greatly. It doesn't mesh well with the mood the instruments successfully create. In addition to this, the album just doesn’t have the evocative and masterful soundscapes that makes Laughing Stock
even more incredible. The sound has yet to grow further, but it’s quite the satisfying blueprint at that. Any flaw aside, there are many genre bending classics that simply don’t hold up to the critical acclaim it acquired when it came out. However, Spirit of Eden
happens to be one of the exceptions. It’s euphoric, timeless and serves as a testament of what could transpire if a band thinks outside the box. It may even aid in the discovery of a new genre.