STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 43420-13472 LABEL: Acadia ACA8014 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
In 1987, T-Bone Burnett once again switched record labels and recorded this set for CBS Records. The previous year he'd been touring and performing with Elvis Costello as The Cowards Brothers and had produced Costello's 'King Of America' record. Then he turned to recording some of his own songs with some help from Cait O'Riordan, Peter Case, Tonio K and Bono who all joined in! Burnett famously said that as a Christian musician you could either sing songs about the light or you could sing songs about what you can see in the light and he has always done the latter. 'The Talking Animals' is no exception. "The Wild Truth" celebrates the power of God's mercy and grace as a liberating factor in life that should set us free to live artfully and creatively. Then Burnett proves his point with the fabulous "Image", a conceit about how we hide behind the images of ourselves that we create. With an incredible arrangement from the famous Van Dyke Parks, it is sung by Burnett but also features a duet in French! Sometimes the presence of Bruce Cockburn's bass player Tony Levin brings to mind comparisons with Cockburn's '80s output musically. Burnett has a knack for penning thunderous, catchy, driving rock numbers so "Relentless" and "You Could Look It Up" fall into that category. "Euromad" is also another piece of Burnett genius with its ironic lyrics and excellent vibe. The album's piece de resistance is the closer "The Strange Case Of Frank Cash And The Morning Paper". Written by Burnett with Tonio K, it's one of the most creative song ideas with a Brechtian twist in the tale that is one of the cleverest things I've ever heard! It's worth buying the album just for that one amazing song!
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