Brian Eno and David Byrne turn album into art

Via The Courier Mail

Noel Mengel

This is the most compelling argument in favour of music as a physical product in quite a while.

For starters, if you only download this, how would you know the answer to questions such as: "What is the connecting point between Brian Eno, David Byrne and the Sex Pistols?"

The answer? You wouldn't, unless you read this review. Steady on, you don't think I'm going to answer that now, do you?

In the world where a lot of people who care about music live, those kind of details are important.

And if you downloaded this, you wouldn't have the lovingly designed cover art, a 24-page booklet with illustrations in the same photo-realistic style as the cover, lyrics and explanatory notes from Byrne and Eno. All this helps create the right mood for the listener to explore the music.

That same kind of attention to detail was there in Byrne's Australian tour and Brisbane show on Saturday (read a review of the gig) – brilliant band, three extra singers, three dancers, excellent sound.

Of course, there was a huge weight of expectation hanging over Byrne and Eno's decision to work together again after a 25-year break. The albums they created, More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear Of Music and Remain In Light with Talking Heads and the Byrne-Eno album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, were some of the most exciting and innovative recordings of that time, or since for that matter.

Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (Inertia) just had to be good.

And it is, while forging its own path rather than merely attempting to recreate former glories.

Byrne is right in sensing a "folk-electronic-gospel" feeling in the music Eno handed over for him to create melodies and lyrics.

The sonic details are instantly recognisable to anyone who has followed Eno's career, whether solo or as producer for U2, but there is something very spare and clean about these tunes too, an atmosphere that was brought out even more strongly in concert.

You can imagine people with acoustic guitars gathered by a campfire, or in a church, for that matter, singing songs like Home, Life Is Long and One Fine Day.

The more you play them, the more they get under the skin.

Songs like these balance with the lighter-than-air funk of Strange Overtones, the song which most sounds like it belongs on a Talking Heads album.

Then there's The River, a lush setting for the clean lines of Byrne's lyrics, which have the same kind of so-real-it's-surreal element they've always had.

There is so much music around now that a lot of it is disposable, but Everything That Happens Will Happen Today is something you actually want to have, a piece of art that engages the senses and the intellect.

And the Sex Pistols connection?

You would never guess it, but that's the Pistols' Steve Jones on guitar on several tracks.

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