"You didn't leave me anything/ That I can understand/ Now I'm left with all of this/ A room full of your trash." Richard Butler's plaintive cry to a disorganized ex-lover, from "All of This & Nothing," could refer as easily to the Furs' messy career. At times a mess like a great party in progress, with honking horns and way over-flanged guitars thrown over a raucous mix, at other times a mess like the huge slick spot you find after the party (champagne, beer, hairball), they were the self-conscious post-punks who listened hardest to their marketing departments and paid for it.
Talk Talk Talk has real playing and songs less snotty and more complete. Butler doesn't sing actual notes, but fortunately no one's slipped him any throat lozenges. His persona of either denouncing socio-political hypocrisy-- you get the impression he went to a lot of parties he detested, and didn't vote for a lot of other parties-- or singing love songs about quirky girls, like "She Is Mine," a ballad even more clumsily tender than Modern English's "I Melt With You." Not surprisingly, the Furs' most successful songs combine Butler's two favorite subjects. "Pretty in Pink" denounces the sexist double standards of quirky girl Caroline's ex-boyfriends, gathered together to trash her. "The one who insists he was first in the line/ Is the last to remember her name/ He's walking around in this dress that she wore/ She's gone but the joke's the same." Butler's devotion to uncovering sanctimony would ring truer if Talk Talk Talk's second half did not include not one but two paeans to unadulterated lust, "Into You Like a Train" and "I Wanna Sleep With You."


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