Talk Talk The Colour Of Spring

“Talk Talk are one of the most important bands that Elbow have ever listened to. They’ve had an awful lot of influence on our music. The Colour of Spring was really experimental especially in its sonics – and I’m convinced it’s one of the reasons that Elbow started recording music straightaway – and one of the reasons that how we record stuff, how we produce stuff, is such a big part of how we write the songs.
From the off this record still sounds bright and beautiful and what came after it are the two best records ever made. I honestly think that without it (Colour of Spring) I wouldn’t be anywhere near music.”
Guy Garvey, Elbow

Few musicians inspire as much reverence as Talk Talk frontman Mark Hollis. While much of the electronic-lead chart music of the 1980s was vacuous and frothy, Hollis traveled in a different direction. He made minimalist masterpieces, breaking into the mainstream with the band’s third album, The Colour Of Spring. It featured Talk Talk’s first bona-fide hit, Life’s What You Make It, and helped to distance themselves from the New Wave, synthesised sound of their earlier recordings. On the album credits Mark Hollis is listed as vocals, organ, guitar, piano, melodica, mellotron and vibraphone. Lee Harris was on drums, and percussion, with Paul Webb on bass guitar and occasionally backing vocals.

The Colour of Spring was the band’s most commercially successful album, and even though the band released their last album in 1992 their legacy remains strong among fans and critics. The Colour of Spring stands as one of their most loved albums and paved the way for their masterpiece, Spirit Of Eden, which followed two years later. It also showcased the organic and improvisational nature of their output, which dominated later recordings.

It was their last album to make it into the US Billboard Top 100, managing to reach the number 75. Although the band haven’t recorded together since 1991, their influence can be heard in the work of bands like Elbow and Radiohead. Today The Colour of Spring still stands as one of their most important albums. Pitchfork Media listed The Colour of Spring as 83rd best album of the 1980’s and Slant Magazine listed the album at #96 on its list of “Best Albums of the 1980s.” It received a four and a half star review (out of a possible five) by the Allmusic website, which reviewer Chris Woodstra called “their most thoroughly satisfying album”.

The Colour of Spring is a glorious bridge between old Talk Talk and new Talk Talk. It was a record in which they found the confidence to move beyond their earlier new wave origins and forge a new, post-rock sound. Insanely influential and determinedly authentic and origin, it mixed the epic pop of Life’s What You Make It with the epic and moving ambience of April 5th and Chameleon Day.


Guy Garvey, Elbow, broadcaster / Daniel Miller, founder of Mute Records / Gareth Jones, producer / Prof. Andrew Dubber, Tech Fest, Birmingham City University / James Marsh, illustrator and designer / Dr Oliver Carter, Birmingham School of Media /Robin Valk, broadcaster / Presenter; Ian Camfield / Assistant Producer; Oliver Carter / Exec. Producers; Andy Ashton, Mike Walsh