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The Name of This Band is Talking Heads

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Another Quickie review1

The Name of This Band is Talking Heads

Awesome, if you like Adrian Belew’s electric guitar caterwauling on top of Talking Head classics. To be fair, only on a few tracks. Three thumbs up2

All the tempos have been quickened, and the rhythm section locks in. I posted some YouTube footage from this tour a while ago, the files might still be accessible.

Extended to 33 songs from the original release, spanning 2 hours and 36 minutes of funk, Afro-pop, and quirkiness.

Sean Westergaard of AllMusic writes:

The sound is crisp and clear, with tight drumming, a great punchy bass sound, and clearly separated guitars that allow you to really hear what complementary (and fine) players David Byrne and Jerry Harrison were. Byrne is the über-geek with a totally unique delivery (especially on tracks like “Who Is It?,” “Artists Only,” and “Stay Hungry,” not to mention his nervous stage announcements), but they all play with the raw energy of a young band on the way up. The bonus tracks are all excellent. There is no sense whatsoever that they were simply padding things for a longer running time, and it’s just great hearing live versions of songs like “Mind” (with extended guitar solo), “The Big Country,” and “The Book I Read” that have never been readily available in live form.

As fantastic as the first disc is, the second one is perhaps even more exciting. The expanded band (ten musicians and two backup singers) is amazing, not only adding power and punch to the Remain in Light material, but in most cases surpassing the studio versions (no mean feat). These live versions of “The Great Curve,” “Houses in Motion,” and “Crosseyed and Painless (all prominently featuring Adrian Belew) are nearly worth the price of admission alone, but the bonus tracks here are just as exciting. The original release had no overlapping songs on the two LPs, with the large version of the band sticking solely to tunes from Remain in Light and Fear of Music. Now you’re treated to arrangements of “Psycho Killer,” “Stay Hungry,” and “Warning Sign” as performed by the expanded lineup, not to mention live versions of “Animals,” “Cities,” and “Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On).” The band is on fire throughout the performances, and fans of Belew’s guitar playing will practically be giddy with ecstasy. These are some of his finest performances strictly as a guitarist, and although Remain in Light was the only studio album he played on, he beautifully adds his own touches to “Stay Hungry” and especially “Psycho Killer.” Byrne also contributes some cool guitar, sometimes using a great delay sound, and again, the clear separation of instruments lets you really hear the details.

  1. for Musebin []
  2. umm, well, two thumbs, and your neighbor’s thumb too for good measure, because you will probably want to play this album with the volume turned way up []

Written by Seth Anderson

November 24th, 2008 at 9:07 am

Posted in Music

Tagged with , ,

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