Monday, 4 June 2018
Talking Heads - 77 (1977)
Released September 1977
Recorded at Sundragon Studios, New York City
From New York’s CBGB’s punk scene came a surprising oddity - the quirky, post punk before punk had barely begun, band of somewhat dull earnest studenty-types led by a hyper-active nerdy lead singer in David Byrne. This was Talking Heads. The like of them had not been seen or heard before - jangly sometimes funky guitars, a solid bass and drum beat and Byrne’s manic, often unsettling vocal delivery. Nobody knew quite what to make of them. They helped to kill of punk’s anger almost immediately - their music and lyrics were thoughtful, cerebral, not destructive. The times were a changing already.
Kicking off with the short, frantic “Uh-Oh Love Comes To Town” we were presented with an album full of shortish, sharp guitar-driven odd songs with strange lyrics and a sort of thrillingly unique guitar sound. Just what would people make of them. Totally uncategorisable. They were an acquired taste, but their songs had hooks, such as the catchy chorus part on “Tentative Decisions”, the guitar funk of “New Feeling” and the gently tuneful “First Week, Last Week..Carefree”. “The Book I Read” also stayed in the head as, of course, did the now iconic single, the mysterious “Psycho Killer”. The album’s closer, “Pulled Up” also had a great riff and madcap high-pitched chorus vocal from Byrne. The funk of the short track “Who Is It” provided an early pointer as to future sounds as well.The album also had an attempt at being iconic all-red cover. Listening to it now, it really is a notable debut album.
The non-album single, “Love Goes To Building On Fire” is a gem. Totally un-analysable though.