The flipside of the wild freedom that comes with having nothing to lose is the wondrously luxurious freedom of having little to gain. Certainly, none would argue that a reunion of two of the most eminent figures of their generation is an event unto itself; but at the same time, no matter how disastrous a failure this might have been, not a thing would change in the lives of David Byrne and Brian Eno. Eno would still be getting a call from Bono next year, Byrne would still be asked to curate this or that during the Lincoln Center Festival. So the very idea that they would choose to make such a Sunday-stroll-in-the-park of a record attains a prodigious level of bafflement. Is it good? Absolutely, but so are chocolate cupcakes. God knows where Eno is in all of this, except that tracks like “Home” and “Wanted Life” are a bit more sonically lush than Byrne’s usual solo work. And you can make out his signature spooky harmonies here and there. But ultimately, this comes off like one of those charmingly folksy, pensive records that Byrne turns out when he’s feeling considerably more philosophical than experimental. The lyrics, including such mind-bending zingers as, “Life is long if you give it away/Chain me down but I am still free,” are hardly the best these guys are capable of. There are, to be fair, some gorgeous moments here, such as the gospel-tinged “One Fine Day” and the lush, celestial masterpiece of a title track. But this is David-bloody-Byrne and Brian-flipping-Eno! And rather than taking the opportunity to once again bend our worldly perceptions beyond all repair, they’ve made a lovely, captivating, thoughtful, even romantic record… and one that doesn’t take a single turn that hasn’t been mapped out by GPS. If you generally like Byrne’s music, you will unquestionably enjoy this record. If you’ve come looking for revolution, I’d recommend a time machine.
Filter Grade: 81%