Brian Eno is MORE DARK THAN SHARK
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Trouser Press OCTOBER 1978 - by MT Laverty

TALKING HEADS: MORE SONGS ABOUT BUILDINGS AND FOOD

Perhaps its eleven songs are generally less intriguing than those on the Heads' first record, nevertheless, this second LP is still very good. The choice of Brian Eno as co-producer for the cultured quartet has turned out to be a fruitful musical decision. With the help of his electronic treatments and oblique strategies, Eno has achieved for the Heads the clean, cool, restrained funk sound of such David Byrne favorites as Al Green and the Ohio Express.

Working the same mixing board that he used with Bowie and Devo in Germany, Eno treated the group's live sound for dynamic results. David Byrne's hypnotic guitar strumming sounds more varied and evocative than ever before. Similarly, Tina Weymouth's bass seems to thump stronger, Jerry Harrison's keyboards are more resonant, and Chris Frantz's drumming is tighter and lighter. Lots of sound leakage, overdubbing and distortion add sparkling facets to tightly structured arrangements of songs like Al Green's Take Me To The River, an old-time repertoire number which takes on a new and amusing underwater effect. The Good Thing is the real knockout of the LP, due to its imaginative construction - "Tina and the Typing Pool" provide singsong background vocals which give the tune an Oriental ambiance while Byrne pumps out droll exclamations such as soul-takeoff "Watch me work!" Since the songs are sculpted by rhythmic rather than melodic interplay, they occasionally begin to drone, but Byrne's eccentric perspective (belied by lyrics such as "Judy's in the bedroom / Inventing situations") always manages to salvage the works.


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