By Daily Camera
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. On Grown Backwards, due in stores Tuesday, the ex-Talking Head emphasizes melody and emotion, turning to swelling strings rather than his typically dense mix of traditional rock instrumentation.
The biggest surprises are the pair of arias ("Un di Felice" from Verdi's "La Traviata" and "Au Fond Du Temple Saint," from Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers") that Byrne, despite his traditionally herky-jerky vocals, quite ably handles. The rest of this surprisingly strong album dresses up the singer's usually quirky fare — pirates, manners and real estate, among other topics — with sweet melodies and gentle percussion.