Talk Talk
The Party's Over



by skinsparks USER (1 Reviews)
December 7th, 2022 | 2 replies

Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Bright beginnings for a legendary band. A powerful pop album with surprising depth and nuance whose weakest points are its dated aesthetic and radio friendly approach.

Even in their pop beginnings Talk Talk's incredible compositional skill is obvious. Layered, interwoven instrumentation and excellent songwriting along with passionate performances make this a surprisingly rich listen despite its dated aesthetic and it being overshadowed by later albums. The best tracks, such as 'Candy', transcend their genre to create something which I feel is timeless, a quality which vocalist Mark Hollis would later describe as a goal of art.

The Party's Over is loud, big, and energetic. Drums pound at a dance floor tempo while Hollis belts out one huge chorus after another. Each song is unique, some filled with intense sadness and darkness, some much more playful or uplifting. Rarely slowing down, the album overwhelms the listener with infectious music and a highly stylized pop appeal. Although there is much more on offer here than radio filler, Talk Talk doesn't always stick the landing, which is understandable for such an ambitious debut.

The weakest parts of the album are when it feels dated, cliche, or overdone. These moments aren't too common but this is still clearly a product of its time in the end. The production, style, and attitude are all bursting with 80's energy. However, Talk Talk are able to take the pop style they chose to work within and craft surprisingly rich and nuanced music. The incredible gift of Mark Hollis's voice is just as much a revelation here as it is on his masterpiece performances later in his career. Bass guitar, synth, and drums provide a very solid foundation in these tracks, varying from complex interweaving melodies and rhythms, to subtle atmosphere, to simplified synchronized buildups. Paul Webb’s bass guitar in particular is highly creative, versatile, and expressive, often serving as a main highlight of a song while still flawlessly blending into and complementing the band when needed. Hints of Talk Talk’s future prowess are clear throughout in the well-crafted song structures and intricate grooves. The band's skill is just as sharp here as it would be later.

However, this debut is easily their most inconsistent album, and not every song here stands the test of time. At their worst, as mentioned, some tracks can feel very dated and at times tiring to listen to as a result. Even on the most generic tracks, however, Talk Talk refuses to slack off. 'Today' may be a little more than an 80's synth banger, but it's still rich with melody, incredible instrumentation especially the bass and keys, and the songwriting is carefully balanced to create a rich and fulfilling experience if you see past its aesthetic and production trappings.

For those familiar with the later work and just looking into the early pop material, The Party's Over may come off as trite or irrelevant. This couldn't be any more wrong in my opinion, and this album brilliantly highlights Talk Talk's ability to make meaningful art regardless of context or limitation. Although they would later flourish and transcend their craft, here is where they first showed their mastery and total devotion to music.

Having listened to Talk Talk's discography many times, often I expect to like this album less and skip tracks, and every time I'm pleasantly surprised. A powerful, enthralling, and fun take on 80's synth music with incredible songwriting and performances that go beyond the album’s genre.

Favorite tracks: The Party's Over, Candy

Take this punishment away Lord
Name the crime I'm guilty of
Too much hope I've seen as virtue
Name the crime I'm guilty of

user ratings (212)
other reviews of this album
MikeKeiper (3)
Is it the post rock we know Talk Talk for? No. Is it good synthpop? Absolutely....

Comments:Add a Comment 
December 7th 2022


Hey it's the album cover that Alexisonfire stole this year.

December 7th 2022


Album Rating: 2.5

rated this a 2.5 just from my old account's ratings but I also remember this being not nearly as weak as reviews / user ratings make it out to be

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