By Tony Bonyata
And you may find yourself in one of the most influential and important bands of the '80's. And you may find your creativity being stifled. And you may find yourself leaving this band to start a solo career. And you may find yourself floundering on different musical styles trying to redefine your identity. And you may ask yourself - Well... how did I get here?
Ever since David Byrne left the wildly successful band Talking Heads in the late '80's, he has produced a number of solo efforts that were dominated with the Latin-flavored sounds of South America (He actually started dabbling with these sounds on the Heads 1988 release, Naked). While the albums had an infectious get-up-and-dance, street party feel, it pigeon-holed Byrne's sound even more than the Talking Heads could have ever done. It became apparent that Byrne's love of samba, salsa and forro music of the Caribbean and Brazil was stifling his creativity, whether he knew it or not.
On David Byrne's latest release, Feelings, he has taken stock in what he has been doing and expanded and built upon his past to come up with a clever album full of his signature quirky lyrics and vocals along with some fresh instrumental juxtapositions.
Feelings opens up with a welcome laid-back funk on "Fuzzy Freaky". On the droning song "Daddy Go Down", Byrne mixes Middle Eastern sitars with a Cajun fiddle that blends perfectly. "They Are In Love" is driven by an accordion which is accented with an unlikely accompaniment of cello and french horn. The underground sounds of London's jungle bass-and-drums brilliantly foils the country-bumpkin beat on "The Gates Of Paradise". The only time he revisits his new-found Latin roots is on the album's first single, "Miss America", a song which spices up the album nicely without overpowering it. "Dance On Vaseline" has a sinister rhythm that squirms and twitches as a Spanish trumpet slips in and out of the song.
Byrne has produced a fun, eclectic collection of songs on Feelings that is reminiscent of his former band (if not in sound, at least in the ability to experiment with new sounds and ideas). It's good to have you back, David.