Well Worth the Wait
Few can stake claim to the amount of influence that David Byrne and Brian Eno have on today’s musical landscape. Their musical genealogy is unsurpassed: Enoâ€šÃ„Ã´s glammy efforts, solo and with Roxy Music, eventually led deep into ambient territory and on to studio work including David Bowieâ€šÃ„Ã´s Berlin-era sound, as Byrne parlayed Talking Headsâ€šÃ„Ã´ jittery dance grooves into his own solo career, the worldly Luaka Bop label, and elder-statesman guest spots with electronica acts. The albums they worked on togetherâ€šÃ„Ã®More Songs about Buildings and Food, Fear of Music and Remain in Light by Talking Heads, their collaborative effort My Life in the Bush of Ghosts and Byrne’s debut solo outing The Catherine Wheelâ€šÃ„Ã®are deemed essential by many. Everything That Happens Will Happen Today is their first joint venture in nearly three decades. Fans may wonder what took so long, yet the first full listen to this new album reveals they have come back together at the perfect time; they’re like-minded once again.While Everything That Happens doesn’t immediately scream “Masterpiece!,” it shows two middle-aged men at peace with themselves, their work, their respective worlds, and still doing what they do best. Byrne’s voice and Eno’s music create a rare, glorious synergy. While maintaining stylistic diversity, the 11 tracks fit well next to each other. “Home” and “My Big Nurse” begin the album in a soothing, pastoral manner as Byrne’s voice evokes traveled wisdom with “I hear the wind whistling ‘come back anytime’ / And we’ll mix our lives together” over warm, sepia-toned melodies. Byrne acts the sage throughout the album, be it in the soulful, horn-tinged chorus of “Life is long / If you give it away” from “Life is Long,” or musing how “A change is gonna come / Like Sam Cooke sang in ’63” in the Spectoresque “The River.”
Eno’s production may seem rote to his fans, but the diversity of sounds within is noteworthy. While song structures are more traditional than anything in his or Byrne’s oeuvre, cuts like “Feel My Stuff” with its jagged rhythm and sparkling piano, the jazzy murkiness of “Poor Boy,” the ethereal “Lighthouse” and “Strange Overtones”â€šÃ„Ã®the clearest window to Enoâ€šÃ„Ã´s pastâ€šÃ„Ã®show he is still one of the top studio wizards around. Everything That Happens Will Happen Today prominently displays that the David Byrne/Brian Eno partnership still has some water in the well. One can only hope it’s not another three decades before they link up again.