“The wealth of love”

So I’ve given Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden a few spins, and am still trying to make sense of it – a difficult task for an album where the shortest song still clocks over five minutes, and which contains lyrics which vary from “that ain’t me babe” to “A gilded wreath on reason/The Flower crushed conceived/A child of fragrance so much clearer/In legacy”.

But it’s obvious that this is a work of some kind of staggering genius, and is self-indulgent in the good sense of, “I don’t care what you want to hear; I’m gonna make something beautiful” as opposed to, “I don’t care what you want to hear; I’m gonna express myself!” And it is pretty to listen to, from the sparse guitar-work to the wordless choir in, “I Believe in You” If Brian Wilson writes pop concertos for God, then Mark Hollis does tone poems (and hits closer to the mark of Debussy and Bartok than so many of the prog-rockers). And despite its almost glacial pace at times, the whole thing has an intensity and that joyful yearning which the best music brings out – and which keeps it from degenerating into new age muzak.

Anyway, the lyrics are pretty gnomic stuff with a rather strong transcendental yen. There are indeed some reminders that this is a rock album: we’ve got a relationship song (“Desire”) and an (anti)drug song (“I Believe in You”); the opener is vaguely political. But aside from that, I wouldn’t be surprised if Yeats, Blake and Rilke were on Hollis’ bookshelf as he was recording this. In the last song, “Wealth”, he seems to be praying:

Create upon my flesh
Create approach upon my breath
Bring me salvation if I fear
Take my freedom
A sacred love

Create upon my breath
Create reflection on my flesh
The wealth of love
Bear me a witness to the years
Take my freedom
Let my freedom up
Take my freedom for giving me a sacred love

Create upon my flesh
Create a home within my head
Take my freedom
Let my freedom up
Take my freedom for giving me a sacred love

Apparently this album’s a trailblazer for the post-rock movement of which I haven’t really listened to anything of. While I’m a bit afraid that what works here can easily become tedious in lesser hands, it’s nice to stumble into these little niches.

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About Josh W

A Catholic; an occasional writer.
This entry was posted in pop culture and its discontents, Stuff other people said. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “The wealth of love”

  1. Pingback: Minor thoughts on Schubert | Res Studiorum et Ludorum

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