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David Byrne


David Byrne ­ Grown Backwards
Review by Matt Robinson

“To whom can I speak today?” asks underground icon David Byrne in “The Man Who Loved Beer.” While the line has little to do with the gently jaunty second tune from his latest album, it says a great deal about the singer. Byrne’s attention to detail and love of a lyric (no matter how forced) have always been among his trademarks. On this latest collection, Mr. Byrne and company (including vocal artist Rufus Wainwright, accordionist John Linnell, and bassist John Patitucci) swing from the pseudo-political anthem “Empire” and the bouncing baby tune “Little Apocalypse” to the appreciative jaunt of “Glad” and the snare snapping punch of “Dialog Box.” On “Au Fond du Temple Saint,” Byrne and Wainwright strain against Bizet’s timeless strains. “Un de Felice, Etera” finds a yearning Byrne reaching vocally for Verdi’s heavens. Combining flavors from Byrne’s South American adventures with his Head-y days of yesteryear, Grown Backwards is (as the title suggests) a subtle retrospective of sorts- nowhere more evident than in the closing reworking of Byrne’s own classic “Lazy,” which combines the reminiscent Tosca Strings with the totally today X-Press 2. Weaving old and new from his own musical catalog and those of the universe, Byrne shows he continues to grow even in this backwards music world.

- Matthew S. Robinson
c. 2004, M. S. Robinson, ARR


©2003-2005 Boston Beats





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