Laughing Stock (album)
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|Studio album by Talk Talk|
|Released||16 September 1991|
|Recorded||September 1990–April 1991 at Wessex Studios in Highbury, London|
|Genre||Post-rock, art rock, jazz|
|Talk Talk chronology|
Like its predecessor, Spirit of Eden, the album featured improvised instrumentation from a large ensemble of musicians, including as many as seven violists on occasion, and the lyrical themes are often religious. The recording sessions have attained near-mythical status among underground music fans; Tape Op magazine ran an extensive article detailing the demanding recording sessions, marked by Mark Hollis' perfectionist tendencies, and his use of candles and incense to set the mood. Engineer Phill Brown stated that the album, like its predecessor, was "recorded by chance, accident, and hours of trying every possible overdub idea." However, compared to prior Talk Talk albums, he goes on to note that "Laughing Stock is a different beast. I am very proud of the album, it's probably one of my best projects.... but I find it dark and claustrophobic."
The cover art is by James Marsh, responsible for most of Talk Talk's artwork. Marsh initially painted a cover depicting a group of threatened birds forming the shape of a larger bird in flight over a desolate landscape. However, Hollis later felt the artwork should feature a tree, to create a visual connection to Spirit of Eden.
The final cover featured the same birds in a spherical tree forming the shapes of the Earth's continents.
Later on, the first cover was used as the artwork for a three single box set called After the Flood.
In 1991, Select gave the album a rating of four out of five. The review referred to it as an "exercise in self-indulgence and nothing more. If you refuse to enter their playground for the world-weary then that's fine by them." as well as calling the album "perverse genius".
Laughing Stock received critical acclaim.
|3.||"After the Flood"||Tim Friese-Greene, Hollis||9:39|
There is a brief, untitled instrumental fragment preceding "Taphead" at the beginning of side 2 on the LP/cassette version. This is present on the US CD, but the UK omits it with "After The Flood" crossfading into "Taphead".
2011 Vinyl Reissue
On 11 October 2011, Ba Da Bing Records released Laughing Stock on vinyl, the first time that the album has been issued on vinyl in the US.
- Additional personnel
- Tim Friese-Greene – organ, piano, harmonium
- Mark Feltham – harmonica
- Martin Ditcham – percussion
- Levine Andrade, Stephen Tees, George Robertson, Gavyn Wright, Jack Glickman, Wilf Gibson, Garfield Jackson – viola
- Simon Edwards, Ernest Mothle – acoustic bass
- Roger Smith, Paul Kegg – cello
- Henry Lowther – trumpet, flugelhorn
- Dave White – contra bass clarinet
- Mark Hollis Interview
- Talk Talk Laughing Stock – Review of the Classic 1991 Album
- Laughing Stock (album) at AllMusic
- NME Album Reviews – Laughing Stock – NME.COM
- Griffiths, Nick (October 1991). "Reviews New Albums". Select (London: EMAP Metro): 76.
- Talk Talk / Mark Hollis: Laughing Stock / Mark Hollis | Album Reviews | Pitchfork
- Sputnikmusic review
- Treble review
- "Top 100 Albums of the 1990s; 20-11". Pitchfork Media.
- "Mark Hollis and Talk Talk Re-release!". Ba Da Bing Records.