Talk Talk - Natural History 1982 - 1988 / Natural Order 1982 - 1991
'They sound like Duran Duran after receiving some very bad news'
Talk Talk were the born-again virgins of British pop. They spent almost a decade as a conventional commercial entity, producing several albums of post-New Romantic synth-pop that was wistful and angsty and sounded like Duran Duran after receiving some very bad news. Their zenith was student-union perennial 'Life’s What You Make It', catching them on the cusp, as their bounce cooled into reflectiveness. Then they regenerated as something else completely, as auteurs of spooky, spare dreamtime folk-rock, captured on the none-more-culty albums Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock, records of such intense, ghostly brilliance they were to erase all memory of what came prior.
Natural History and Natural Order are intended to tell the whole tale. The first is a two-disc set comprising a decently functional 12-song best-of with accompanying DVD riven with the contemporaneous big Buggles spectacles and fretless basses. The second collection traces the band’s metamorphosis from mode one to mode two, and includes a previously unheard version of 'After The Flood', which is quite big news for devotees, who have learnt to suffer scarcity. The journey is fascinating anyway, like watching someone age before your eyes. Few bands have transformed themselves so utterly. Each phase is distinguished by the thin, soulful whine of songwriter and conceptualist Mark Hollis but, effectively, they are night and day. These respectful overviews wind the clock back with loving care.