Laughing Stock

Universal Motown Records Group
Release date
19 Nov 1991
Running length
6 tracks
Running time


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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 Myrrhman 5:33 55,854
2 Ascension Day 6:00 58,073
3 After The Flood 9:39 52,408
4 Taphead 7:40 47,277
5 New Grass 9:41 51,486
6 Runeii 4:58 42,809

About this album

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.

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  • icelandier

    only thing of life

    19 Dec 2014 Reply
  • white_lemur

    One of my top 5 albums. Masterpiece!

    11 Dec 2014 Reply
  • Gaffes

    The perfected version of Spirit Of Eden.

    4 Dec 2014 Reply
  • joemcmaster

    Just brilliant.

    19 Sep 2014 Reply
  • missing_sock

    I laugh at people who put up their ignorant faces saying "huh isn't that like Duran Duran new wave shite" when I claim this is one of the best albums ever in any genre. People are so dumb. The age of sock will set you all straight.

    28 May 2014 Reply
  • torquatotasso

    very like dis thing

    11 Apr 2014 Reply
  • wiseblood-

    A beautiful album and worthy companion to Spirit of Eden.

    26 Mar 2014 Reply
  • RussellChap

    When I bought this on CD from my local Our Price (a record shop now defunct) Post Rock as genre didn't exist. It didn't belong to any genre it was, along with Spirit of Eden, out on it's own. To me it still is. If there are any albums which inhabit a similar habitat as this and it's precursor, I'd say Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, Bitches Brew by Miles davis and Scott Walker's Scott trilogy.

    26 Dec 2013 Reply
  • ramce7878

    Very good album . Masterpiece

    1 Dec 2013 Reply
  • r_ocelot

    One of the best albums of 90s.

    30 Nov 2013 Reply
  • WS9167

    Happy 22nd birthday, Laughing Stock.

    19 Nov 2013 Reply
  • FrokenKeke

    Just listened to the vinyl reissue for the first time. As people have said, there are some cracks and pops throughout, which don't really bother me. It just gives it a more vinyl feel, I suppose. The quality got a bit strange in the second part of After the Flood, it all got a bit wobbly. I'm not sure if it's a problem with my copy, but it's a brand new record on a brand new record player, so I don't think there's a problem with my equipment. Now, my main huge gripe with this reissue is the mind boggling decision to use the european version of the album. (That's the one with the crossfade between After the Flood and Taphead, the american issue has the tracks separated as they should be.) The result is a crossfade between two tracks on different sides of the album. If the fade feels jarring and unneccesary on CD, it's downright stupid and ridiculous on vinyl. It's like no one test checked it, which is a shame. An album this good shouldn't have such a lazy reissue.

    12 Oct 2013 Reply
  • milkumashe

    This album is like a revelation for me.

    18 Sep 2013 Reply
  • WS9167

    Definitely an influence on post-rock, but the actual album isn't really post-rock itself. I'd call it spaced-out rock with jazz and classical influences.

    27 Aug 2013 Reply
  • deli2000

    Beautiful, Mesmerizing.

    26 Jul 2013 Reply
  • LastOneStand


    20 Jul 2013 Reply
  • TweezTweezer

    this album changed my life

    19 Jul 2013 Reply
  • maccrash

    so this album is absolutely amazing

    3 Jun 2013 Reply
  • Shaped

    I feel an underlying sense of brilliance listening to it for the first time, yet I'm finding it hard to appreciate at this initial encounter. I think this album will need some time to grow on me.

    25 Nov 2012 Reply
  • NM_chillandill here is the same interview mk741 posted earlier but I scoured the internet for a measly five extra minutes and made this video!

    14 Nov 2012 Reply
  • All 145 shouts

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