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Talking Heads ‘77 (1977)

Talking Head’s music seems to attract the use of adjectives: jittery, angular, brittle, odd, quirky, weird, eccentric, intelligent – all these and more can be levelled against a band who were within touching distance of that much over-used and erroneous description: unique. With less attitude and aggression than their punk counterparts, Talking Heads managed to be more disturbing than most yet their music was tinged with a comic aspect. I don’t agree with those who say this album hasn’t aged well. It still seems as strange and awkward to me today. Take “Happy Days”. For me the song just doesn’t work at all. Byrne’s vocal squeaks and squawks around a restless rhythm that doesn’t seem to know where it wants to go. But, while it may not be very good, it still sounds new and different. However, when it does work it sounds great – like “New Feeling”. I’ve always believed that somehow the band managed to take basic reggae rhythms and twist and shape them into something that is immediately recognisable as Talking Heads. Some say they invented a new musical form, but that is plainly stretching the truth way past reality. But they were certainly clever enough to forge their own identity. Besides the stellar “Psycho Killer”, other highlights are “The Book I Read”, “No Compassion”, “Uh-Oh Love Comes To Town”, “Don’t Worry About The Government” and “Pulled Up”. —Ian

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