A vivid and treasured memory from 1977 is that of walking into Barbarellas club in Birmingham while Talking Heads were midway through ‘Uh-Ho Love Comes To Town’. They were actually the support act to The Ramones which explains why I missed the first part of their set.

I still remember being enthralled by David Byrne who looked nervous and nerdy but curiously charismatic at the same time. The way he sang looked like therapy – a way of releasing his demons in public.

I saw the band less than a year later at the same venue – this time they were headlining (with Dire Straits as support) – and this cemented my unwavering love for the band.

Since they split up in 1991 I have eagerly followed Byrne’s solo career as performer, photographer, head honcho at Luaka Bop, philosopher and blogger.

Brian Eno has earned a no less prestigious, quasi statesmanlike, place in rock history. As a self proclaimed non-musician he brought an experimental dynamic to the Roxy Music’s groundbreaking sound on their first two albums – something Ferry and crew have never been able to replicate since he left in 1973.

As inventor of Ambient Music, sonic landscaper (that’s producer for you plebs!) and inventor of the oblique strategies he has applied his talent and human resource skills with amazing results.

Both Byrne and Eno have an enviable abilty to effortlessly bridge the blurred line between high and lowbrow culture. They are as at home in the weighty world of the avant-garde (in the visual arts, theatre or music) as they are with frothy lightness of commercial pop.

By the side of Eno, I personally prefer Byrne’s brand of brilliance because it strikes me as being more instinctive than scholarly. I see it as stemming from a natural curiosity bordering on naive wonderment with modernity.

Much as I admire Eno there’s always a swottiness about him. I imagine him as the kind of kid I always hated at school because they passed all the exams without apparently needing to apply any effort. There’s a certain smugness about his public persona that you don’t get with David Byrne.

Still there’s no denying that the two work well as a team. The Eno-fication of the Talking Heads sound on Remain In Light made for the band’s finest hour including probably their finest 5 minutes 46 seconds with Born Under Punches. Their previous collaboration – the still remarkable and brilliantly titled ‘My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts’ – pioneered the use of sampled ‘found voices’ .

Eno is an atheist but he loves gospel music and I was interested to note that he refers to the dynamic duo’s latest project – ‘Everything That Happens Will Happen Today‘ – as ‘electronic gospel’. This seems fitting since Byrne takes some of his moves, gestures and vocal delivery from TV evangelists. He rightly views these as a form of modern day showmanship rather than shamanism.

Byrne himself has noted that the album has more sanguine and heartening tone than the pair’s previous works, a sign that they are mellowing a little with age. There are no real surprises but it’s a nice enough listen which I suspect will grow on me.

Still I can’t help feeling nostalgic for The Talking Heads in their heyday and Byrne at his preacherly best as on ‘Once In A Lifetime’. Here he looks like a man possessed by a strange force not entirely of his own volition. Classic :

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