Tuesday, September 09, 2008

David Byrne + Brian Eno New Release: First impressions

Listening to their first collaboration in over 2 decades, it is quite apparent that this is no "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" but I freely admit that I'm predisposed to enjoy whatever these two musical heroes of mine create. I set aside some time to spend with their new release and here are my impressions.

"Familiar, yet fresh" would be my short take on it after first listen. Their combined musical vocabulary continually evokes elements of solo efforts as well as various eras of Talking Heads (particularly "Little Creatures, my least favorite release of theirs). "Strange Overtones" is my far and away favorite...as solid a track as anything Talking Heads ever released. Overall Eno's bleeps, drones and sawtooths are wedded to updated beats which occasionally diverge into the afrobeat, but more often tread into a gentle country shuffle. Nothing earth-shattering or revolutionary, but still a worthy base for his partner to latch onto. Byrne delivers his unique lyrics in a voice that is alternately plaintive or snarled through clenched teeth. His voice, as we've heard on his numerous solo albums, has matured and strengthened mightily since his early nervous adenoidal spazmodic tics, and yelps.

The two of them obviously had fun putting this together and the results are intriguing, but safe. Overall this is a solid listen I"m looking forward to digging into further. 4 of 5 stars.

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