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"Grown Backwards" however feels like something special. A limited pallette of minimal guitar, lush strings and inventive percussion opens up a world of musical possibilities - swooningly beautiful one moment, dark and melancholy the next and with a few diversions into full on funkyness in between. Add to that Byrne's voice at is richest and most controlled and the result is a truly incredible, satisfying listening experience.
The opener "Glass, Concrete and Stone" sets the scene with it's "Eleanor Rigby" esque verses bursting to life with a soaring vocal and pulsating tabla drumming. "The Man Who Loved Beer" is a wonderfully melodic string drenched interpretation of the Lambchop original. "Au Fond Du Temple Saint" is almost painfully beautiful, Rufus Wainwright's deeper tones wrapping around Byrne's own strained but utterly disarming delivery...
"Empire" is by far the weakest track - but it's supposed to be. Basically an imagined anthem for a rightwing administration it's swathed in an unsettlingly subtle backdrop of discordant horns and gently picked guitar... It definitely serves to musically undermine the pompous lyrics and vocal melody. A pretty effective piece of political Satire on Byrne's part but not the most wonderful listening experience!!
"Little Apocalypse", more lush strings, more offbeat percussion and a brilliant transition from the rapped verses to the soaring chorus. Definitely one of the best tracks on the record.Read more ›
No longer a hit machine, Byrne focuses instead on new musical horizons. He keeps his legions of dedicated fans interested by experimentation, some more interesting than others but overall largely successful. "Grown Backwards" should not only further engage his drooling and virulent fans, but add numbers to his scattered flocks of followers. Delicious strings dominate the album. Not sythesizer strings, but real strings in the form of the Tosca Quartet (who also toured with him). Byrne's past experiments with string quartets find juicy fruit here. Years of sculpting Latin and South American rhythms also find their place here amidst mostly meditative but powerful beats. Byrne claimed (on BBC radio) that his approach for this album differed greatly from the past. Instead of pounding out songs by turning guitar lines and spoken in tongue phrases into fully developed songs, Byrne began with lyrics.Read more ›
It's a rich, satisfying musical journey encompassing dozens of influences and letting David stretch a little further. It's not a flawless record. Some of the songs fit so well together because there is a little too much restraint and lack of off the wall goofiness on this album. I think the reason for that has something to do with the very serious undertones a few songs carry with them. It's the 911 effect. You hear it in a couple of his songs. Things are a bit more somber now and even when they get a little silly, they recover quickly and sober right back up. It keeps David from self-consciously over-performing and at this point in his career that is a very good thing. In fact he is probably vocally at his peak on this album. I think LOOK INTO THE EYEBALL is still an album that is going to be easier to like and embrace if you are just returning to David Byrne land, but for those of us already here and under his spell, this album is a feast and I like it better today than I did yesterday.
Best cuts include: `The Man Who Loved Beer ` which was written by Donald Charles Book and Kurt Wagner and was apparently inspired by an ancient middle eastern poem which translates into "Debate Between a Man Tired of Life and his Soul"
Byrnes' music is unique. There are hooks and beats you can dance to in many of his songs, but they are not repetitious and change quickly morphing from a driving beat into an arrangement of strings you might hear in a piece of classical music and then right back into driving percussive beats.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
stellar/ out of the blue.... a quirky mix of several genres... quiet on tippy toes, it's just a tiny apocalypse
very cool, excellent effort
have always love David Byrne music this album is exceptionalLy wonderful... I highly recommend this album...you will regret getting it...ThanksPublished on October 26, 2013 by Harold Hingle
I have often been attacked for saying that David's early solo albums were as strong and consistent as his incredible Talking Heads albums, but I believe that. Read morePublished on July 21, 2009 by SUPERMAN
I only downloaded Au fond du temple Saint, and I'm glad. Both vocalists "slid" to most of the notes, and it just got really old. Read morePublished on July 15, 2009 by Tender Ear
If you don't like Au Fond Du Temple Saint then you should listen to it until you like it... and then listen to it again.Published on September 18, 2007 by R. Coakley
I'm not sure about the album, but I mist say "Glass, Concrete, and Stone" is an AMAZING song with unique instrumentals and lyrics. It truly is extraordinary.Published on March 21, 2007 by Ashley