INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Classic Rock MAY 2018 - by David Stubbs
DAVID BYRNE: AMERICAN UTOPIA
Ex-Talking Heads frontman's first solo album since 2004.
American Utopia is a spiritual accompaniment to David Byrne's Reasons To Be Cheerful series, a curated collection of stories, news and ideas that inspire optimism and hope in what are currently deeply angry and pessimistic times for America.
It's a laudable enough idea; optimism needn't be the prerogative of only the inane or the apolitical. And American Utopia's songs are fondly crafted, meticulously, with tracks like Gasoline And Dirty Sheets and Every Day Is A Miracle taking you down the strange and bright byways of unconsidered Americana. Everybody's Coming To My House, meanwhile, a collaboration with artists including Onyx and co-writer Brian Eno, is cast in a longstanding Byrnian traditional thematic mould.
But for an album designed to promote well-being, it lacks the sheer, frantic, nervy élan of Talking Heads at full throttle. It's wise, but rhythmically, musically, it feels Byrne's age.