David Byrne & Brian Eno Everything That Happens Will Happen Today Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

Anyone expecting boundaries to be broken here will be sorely disappointed. Anyone...

Chris Jones 2008

27 years ago David Byrne of Talking Heads and Brian Eno of everything cool in music since 1973 made My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. Its early sampleology, mixing third world ethnicity with first world technology and intellectualism, was, to put it simply, one of the most important releases of the last 50 years; presaging music's rush into imminent globalism and the blurring of genre boundaries. Reunited, the pair have come up with a completely different beast. Anyone expecting boundaries to be broken here will be sorely disappointed. Anyone expecting something intriguingly and, sometimes, maddeningly infectious will be in luck.

With a crew of ambient guitarist, Leo Abrahams, and F-Ire Collective jazz figurehead, drummer Seb Rochford, Everything That Happens Will happen Today is in turns slinky, poppy, banal and wonderful. Sometimes all at once. Described by Byrne as 'electronic gospel', initial listens put you in mind of the space-age country twangs of Eno's Apollo soundtrack, but with vocals. Yet once you get past the four-squareness of some of the arrangements then it's the details that start the neurons firing.

With Byrne intoning over Eno's musical ideas we get the geekiness of his voice filled to bursting by Brian's trademark mellifluous harmonies. Songs like Home and Life Is Long (featuring, shock horror, a brass section) seem simplistic on the surface, yet repeated plays make them harder and harder to resist. It's just the anticipation of hearing something world-shaking that gets in the way.

There are some blunders. The urban menace of Feel My Stuff with its skittering piano intro, or Poor Boy seem strangely empty, which is interesting as these are the numbers that most closely resemble the stuff that made the pair famous.

But for every slightly misjudged step you get something as sweet as Life Is Long or One Fine day, which in true Enoesque fashion seems to both resemble some township chant AND a sea shanty.

No, it's not going to change your life. No, it's not remotely up there with the classics. But dammit, it's Eno and Byrne, and it's lovely.

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