By Jim Farber
Twenty-seven years ago, David Byrne and Brian Eno sailed out into the world in search of new sounds. For their first joint album — 1981's "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts"— the pair turned the globe into one giant field recording, mutating snippets of music from Africa, Arabia and South America through their own Western intellectual sensibility.
It makes a circular kind of sense, then, that on their first joint album since that bygone era, the two would focus on something closer to home. Or closer to Byrne’s home, anyway. "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today" started with music Eno had sitting around that explored his idea of American gospel songs. Suffice to say, it doesn’t sound much like what most reverends would recognize. But it has some of the genre’s chords and also has some roots in folk.
The result represents the most conventional music Byrne and Eno have made in ages. But that very fact gives the album an unusual angle, as does the use of subtle electronics, which add a light sense of abstraction. The words Byrne added to Eno’s music have a vividly disturbing and disorienting quality as well.
But the ultimate appeal of "Everything"comes in its relative simplicity. Ultimately, it offers the best of two worlds: basic tunes and heartfelt vocals, cleverly skewed through the sensibility of pop's brainiest duo.