Monday, 4 June 2018
Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings And Food (1978)
Released July 1978
Recorded at Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas
Somewhat similar in style and conception to the band’s well-received debut album from the year before, but with subtle differences. There was a slightly more perceivable danceability to the music compared to the starkness of the debut album. Bassist Tina Weymouth and drummer Chris Frantz are more to the fore. Ex Roxy Music member Brian Eno was now the producer.Journalist Nick Sylvester said at the time:-
“More Songs About Buildings and Food transformed the Talking Heads from a quirky CBGB spectacle to a quirky near-unanimously regarded "it" band. New producer Brian Eno can take his due credit for the album's success, smartly tightening up the rhythm section's energy for more dance-oriented beats and a more prominent role in general, though without taking the limelight off head Head David Byrne's nervous sputters…”
Highlights are the short, frenetic opener “Thank You For Sending Me An Angel”, with its invigorating drum intro and Byrne’s soaring vocal, the heady and funky “Warning Sign” (again with a great drum intro), the energetic “The Girls Want To Be With The Girls” and the somewhat hyper (again!) “Stay Hungry”. Also the fabulously funky guitar intro to “With Our Love” and backing bass. “The Good Thing” has a catchy vocal chorus over a upbeat handclappy tune and some of the trademark guitar from the previous album. There are some exhilarating bass lines on this album, particularly on “Artists Only” and “Found A Job”, all blended with that funky fast strummed guitar sound that so characterises this phase of the band’s work.
Funnily enough, the “extras” include an ahead of its time, far funkier version of “Stay Hungry” and a really grungy “I’m Not In Love”. Also a fantastic country version of “Thank You For Sending Me An Angel” which out does the original.
The real standouts, though, are album’s two final tracks - a wonderful, brooding extended cover of Al Green’s soul classic “Take Me To The River” that gives a whole new light to the song and “The Big Country”, a cinematic look at the USA from the air, that proclaims “I wouldn’t live there if you paid me”.
These final two tracks saw the band beginning to diversify more than a little, particularly in covering a slick, soul classic such as “Take Me To The River” which took them away from niche, cult band territory and set the tone for the next album, which would prove to be a ground-breaker.