Talk Talk includes: Mark Hollis (vocals, guitar, melodica, piano, organ, Mellotron); Tim Friese-Greene (piano, organ, Mellotron).
Additional personnel includes: Steve Winwood (organ); Morris Pert (percussion); The Ambrosia Choir (background vocals).
Engineers include: Pete Wooliscroft, Dennis Weinrich, Paul Schroeder.
The midway point between Talk Talk's synth-pop beginnings and its experimental ambient-jazz finale, THE COLOUR OF SPRING presents a band in the midst of radical reinvention. Remarkably, though, this 1986 outing doesn't carry the air of an awkward transitional album; in fact, it's arguably the British group's finest and most assured record.
Working closely with producer/multi-instrumentalist Tim Friese-Greene, Talk Talk takes a sizable step away from its glossy early work, opting for a warm, organic sound that perfectly complements frontman Mark Hollis's plaintive vocals and pensive, existential lyrics. While THE COLOUR OF SPRING features a handful of wonderful pop moments, most notably the uplifting opener, "Happiness Is Easy," and the surging hit "Life's What You Make It," the album also offers up delicate compositions such as the hauntingly gorgeous "April 5th" and the achingly spare "Chameleon Day." Although Hollis and Friese-Greene are clearly SPRING's sonic architects, bassist Paul Webb and drummer Lee Harris ably anchor the melodies, leaving room for guest musicians such as Steve Winwood, who offers crucial but surprisingly low-key support on organ. This is a snapshot of an ensemble deftly balancing art and accessibility, and it remains an under-the-radar classic.
Q (2/04, p.119) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Mark Hollis's emotionally bruised mumble implores on an album loaded with rainy-day melancholia..."
Q (Magazine) (pp.110-111) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "By 1986's THE COLOUR OF SPRING they were employing acoustic instruments and twisty arrangements to fore artful rock brimming with surprises..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.100) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A]n album full of ideas, but space too....Opener 'Happiness Is Easy' updated Pink Floyd, even down to the kids' choir, while pre-empting Massive Attack."