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Monday, 4 June 2018
Talking Heads - Speaking In Tongues (1983)
Released June 1983
Recorded in Nassau and New York City
From 1983 and no longer using Brian Eno as producer, Talking Heads went into full funk rock mode. The old art rock sensibilities were still there, but there was a full, pounding bassy sound, particularly on the opener, the much-sampled “Burning Down The House”. “Making Flippy Floppy” is both melodious and funky, with great lead guitar parts, and the same applies to the infectious, insistent “Girlfriend Is Better”. The bizarre lyrics and David Byrne’s madcap delivery are still there, which is good to hear, but this is a much heavier, purer funk of an album than anything the band had done previously. Listen to that bass line on “Girlfriend”, a real danceable rhythm.
“Slippery People” has a mighty, thumping intro. The sounds that the previous album had introduced were now given full rein. This wasn’t just experimenting with funk, this was merging funk with art rock, properly. It really works too. “I Get Wild” is similar, mysterious, intense, throbbing. Great rhythm. “Swamp” has Byrne in deeper voice mode, something he uses more on here than other albums.
“Moon Rocks”, “Pull Up The Roots” and the impossibly catchy “This Must Be The Place” all continue in the same vein.
A different, impressive album from a band that was always pushing the boundaries. Nothing really compares to stuff like this. They were unique.