Über Talk Talk
What began as an exotic New Wave band in the early 1980s evolved into one of the most emotionally-wrought, highly orchestrated groups pop has ever produced. Guided by Mark Hollis' voice and evocative songwriting skills, and the lush production of Tim Friese-Green, Talk Talk moved away from pop songs that hid something complex under a simple exterior to album-length compositions that touch the sublime. Hollis, whose voice wavers between deep suffering and absolute rapture, sings and whispers lyrics that float through the air with the fragility of burning parchment. Citing John Coltrane and Can as primary inspirations, Hollis' songwriting became more abstract, eschewing hooks for atmospheres and traditional structures for emotion. Their 1991 swan song Laughing Stock is an apotheosis of movement between sorrow and exaltation, quiescence and overwhelming instrumentation. With that, they said all they needed to say and fell forever silent.