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Released: 1991

Laughing Stock is the fifth and final LP from Talk Talk, released on November 19, 1991 from Polydor records. It marks the pinnacle of the band's transformation from synth-pop into an experimental, impressionistic sound that would later share characteristics with what music critics called post-rock; as such, it is the quintessential document of a proto-post-rock sound from this incredibly creative group, and it serves as a touchstone record for the era. Since it's release, many years later it has been hailed as a lost classic of the grunge-era nineties. Talk Talk had been steadily gestating a sound transformation from records in the late eighties before Laughing Stock, but those records lacked a cohesive, full production level to make their output from that era stand out as much as it could have. Since Laughing Stock has a much higher production value level, it is distinguishable from the earlier records, and generally serves as a reference to this band's greatest work. Much has been said of this record's seemingly singular identity; it tends to present itself as if it has its own world of sound. Elements of jazz, contemporary-classical, alternative rock and post-punk collude throughout the album to form a distinctly unique listening experience from start to finish. Despite all those present elements, this record defies easy categorization. It would influence later jazz-inflecting rock combos like Tortoise and Sea and Cake as they crafted similarly engrossing albums. It is critically regarded as a top-notch record. Many publications have retroactively named it one of the best records of the nineties, albeit it was mostly ignored upon its initial release and for a while after that. Perhaps the pressure of the public's general ambivalence mixed with the demands of making such a creative work caused Talk Talk to disband, but they are nevertheless remembered now as essential listening, with Laughing Stock exalted above their other records. Read more on Last.fm.

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