FIND REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL!
"But for now he is defining himself more as the author of gently humorous songs that revolve around a single conceit, getting the job done without venturing into strange territories or making much of a ruckus."
"Much of the album is dominated by lush orchestral arrangements, which result in some of the most conventionally 'pretty' music that Byrne has ever recorded"
"David Byrne's new album starts with a melody that seems to be a lullaby, and then--after it woos you--it breaks your heart..."
"The emotion of the piece -- when Alfredo first expresses his love for the doomed Violetta -- fit what he felt at the end of the movie."
"But for those of us without insider knowledge, Grown Backwards remains somewhat oblique. The overall tone is a kind of beautiful sadness; the lasting impression is that this is a record about rootlessness."
"It's almost a format for Byrne: Take a pop song and jumble it around until it's something else."
"But lest anyone think Byrne's suddenly gone too fancy-pants, he covers 'The Man Who Loved Beer' from the like-minded indie chamber pop outfit Lambchop."
"But the obsession with orderliness accentuates Byrne's signature persona as the Middle American still trying to find his groove."
"David Byrne has always tried to push the boundaries of pop music by incorporating world and other influences into his songs."
"However, this is no vanity project - it's a lighthearted, occasionally satiric romp."
"In all, 'Grown Backwards' may be Byrne's best work since leaving Talking Heads."
"For a while, it looked like David Byrne couldn't get any weirder--but then he did."
"It piles so many sounds and dream impressions on top of one another, it's both startlingly fun and crashingly incoherent."
"Even by his own mercurial standards, David Byrne's latest outing is something of a head-spinner, what with the variety of styles and offbeat collaborations that pack its grooves."
"...with 'Grown Backwards,' Byrne finally manages to put all his strange obsessions..."
"On the surface, David Byrne singing opera makes about as much sense as Pavarotti tackling punk."
"Long a sonic shape-shifter, David Byrne's latest effort abandons the make-believe mambos and trip-hop detours of past albums in favor of something a little more elegant: stately chamber pop, with a splash of opera."
"The panoply makes for an eclectic mix that typifies Byrne's polymath musical interests."
"Every time he returns for a SoCal show he's got some new twist to unveil."
"The segment was a tribute to Byrne's sense of showmanship and the absurd. In his songs, he often describes an innocent's journey through the wonders and mysteries of life, and the marching band was right in step with that vision."
"He opened with a selection of mellow and pleasant world-tinged songs that highlighted both his international reputation and his skills as a songwriter even in the later half of his career."
"If you're in either city, consider it unmissable."
"And, as per standard, he made each left turn feel like exactly the right one."
"Still, two hours and two encores later, the crowd are unanimous in their praise of this extraordinarily talented musician at the peak of his powers. His tight, but never overly slick, band and a gorgeous mix (I've never heard strings sound so good through a PA) make this the best concert I've seen in at least a year."
"Byrne's between-song patter was a treat, explaining stories behind the songs with the same quirky wit and wide-eyed charm that he brings to his songs."
"Eclectic is not a strange enough word."
"He continues to redefine the nexus of art and rock, without the art disturbing rock's combustibility, and without the rock overly limiting the art. It is, like his presentation and his choices in programming the repertoire, a fine balancing act."
"In the end, there was a sense that a middle-aged David Byrne had managed to find his place in music and that his vision will allow him to continue to make great music for many years to come."
"Byrne has bought his brilliance to Australia and with it totally destroyed the walls of perception that today's industry use to pigeon-hole performers."
"Among the surprises were reinventions of Jimi Hendrix and Cole Porter tunes, typical of Byrne's refusal to stay put in one genre. His surreal song introductions were also a treat."
"It was the triple whammy of Road to Nowhere, And She Was and Once in a Lifetime which brought the audience to its feet."
"And when you come here you will be happy on stage, which may not be what some people expect from you?
Oh no, not at all."
"Those lucky enough to have tickets to this sold-out concert should be in for quite a musical experience."
"David Byrne bridged the musical divide between Europe and Africa on Wednesday night before a crowd of 683 at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center's Ferguson Hall."
"While Byrne's signature high, slightly weary-sounding voice is evident, the CD has a less-percussive sound than you would expect. That's because instead of building the songs from the bottom up with rhythms and adding melodies afterward as he's done in the past, Byrne hummed bits of tunes and lyrics into a mini-cassette recorder."
"On Grown Backwards, his solo CD released earlier this year, the graying, Scottish-born Manhattanite makes what may be for him the strangest exploration of all: Western melody."
"El meollo del asunto estuvo en la formación con la que se presentó y volverá a presentarse esta noche: la conjunción de una banda de rock netamente rítmica (bajo, batería y percusión) a la que él sumaba eventualmente su guitarra y un sexteto de cuerdas."
"Bien, ahí está Byrne sacudiendo la cabeza con la mandíbula relajada mientras se mece el sexteto de cuerdas a su derecha, y a la izquierda, vibra un set de percusión completísimo, todo sin contar bajista y baterista."
"His concert at Town Hall involved his official role as well as his previous jobs: songwriter, singer, bandleader and rubber-legged dancer."
"There are no screens at WOMAD, but the suspicion lingers that if we had seen David Byrne's hands close up, "hate" and "love" would have been inked across his knuckles."
"If Thursday night's David Byrne concert at the Sheldon Concert Hall is any indication of what they venue has in store for this 2004-05 season, concert-goers are in for one heck of a time. Byrne's quirky showmanship and relentless rhythms made for a near-flawless two-hour show."
"Few musicians possess the ability to have Wookie-lookalikes and bespectacled old men in high-water pants dancing side by side in the aisles. David Byrne, though, displays a limitless imagination and unparalleled work ethic that few musicians could even dream of having."
"Anyone who has been following Byrne since he refashioned American soul knows he's not the type to stand still and wait for ideas to tap his shoulder. In fact, he's more likely to turn left sharply, without signaling or braking."
"At this point in his career, it's less a matter of what David Byrne does musically -- which is anything imaginable -- than how he does it."
"The Tosca Strings appear to like life on the road."
"Whether he's speaking out politically or writing material for the follow-up to his excellent new release 'Grown Backwards,' Byrne was born to bring a new perspective to the world."
"Watching him at Zellerbach Hall Friday, reprising his awkward pseudoacrobatics from his days busking in front of Cody's Books, his status as not just the suavest, but also coolest and most self-assured human alive became more apparent than ever."
"The most intriguing music of the evening came when the strings left the stage."
"That music, which now incorporates rock, pop, punk, R&B, minimalism, Latin, African and Japanese elements, still sifts through the bittersweet quirkiness of human experience in the search for often-elusive meaning."
"When David Byrne performs on stage, he does this funny little dance. His hips swing and twitch sideways, moving precisely to the beat. His arms flap and stir the air beside him."
"While strings usually provide little more than background ambience in pop music, the music of the Tosca strings - a six-member group from Austin, Texas - was central to the show from start to finish."
"I think they were the crowbar that I used to open myself up emotionally and vocally," Byrne has said of the operatic pieces.
"Throughout the record, lyrics about coffee cups and grocery checkout lines and tri-coloured carpets swirl around weighty themes such as death, civilization, war, and apocalypse."
"The Tosca Strings have been playing in Austin for years, usually at the Continental, an eclectic rock, swing and alternative-country hangout known to anyone who has attended the city's annual South by Southwest music conference and festival."
"David Byrne, is not known as the most intelligent man in rock' for nothing. Who else could sing about particle physics and chaos theory in a three minute song and have the audience hanging on his every word?"
"While working on the album, Byrne would hum bits of melodies that occurred to him into the mini-recorder, something that he has never done before, preferring to start from rhythms and textures."
"Byrne can make disaster and paranoia fun, and that might be the key to his staying power."
"In relating humankind's need for imagination, the song served as a thematic springboard for a joyous two-hour-long set that explored the concepts of permanence and psychological nirvana in an increasingly shallow society."
"It's a year of reinvention at the Walker Art Center, and who better to throw a party for Minneapolis' beloved modern-art museum than the ever-changing David Byrne?"
"Life on the road with David Byrne can be a glorious adventure."
"Yes, techno-paganism is the future."
"The concert’s sound strolled the no-man’s land between electric and acoustic with a backing band that was like a super-deluxe paint-box for Byrne’s melodic sketches."
"Yet there's also a sense of rediscovery and liberation, and Byrne concedes that the unsettledness of recent years has been good for the creative process."
"David Byrne is one of the few stars of the rock era who is both genuine eclectic and deep musician."
"The show ended with Byrne graciously accepting another (was it his third, fourth, fifth?) long, loud ovation. The audience, sweaty and spent but smiling and chatty, slowly left the hall knowing they'd just been a part of a great and rare concert experience."
"It was as electric as it was eclectic, an adjective which could have been invented solely for Byrne, for whatever genre takes your fancy – jazz, Latin, folk, bluegrass, pop, rock, and even opera – David Byrne does it."
"For David Byrne, one of rock's cooler dudes, one feels that whatever he dresses around his voice - his experiments have ranged from Brazilian beats to ambient electronica - there is a chilly core of New York intelligence that never thaws out."
"His recent album, Grown Backwards, is among the most surprising and gratifying things he's ever done, proving that there is a heart where once there seemed to be only circuitry."
"Few would have guessed, 25 years ago, that David Byrne, rock's original psycho killer, would turn out to be such a natural-born comedian."
"It's hard to imagine, but hundreds of people were dancing deliriously in the aisles of the Usher Hall on Saturday night to the sounds of a six-piece string section."
"Byrne shuffled and swayed his way round the stage in a rather fetching boiler suit and sharp white shoes, bantering with the audience."
"The act of singing [live] recreates the emotions that went into the songs in the first place — like adding water to freeze-dried food."