INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Mojo JANUARY 23, 2009 - by Danny Eccleston
TALKING HEADS: FEAR OF MUSIC
Talking Heads frontman and writer David Byrne told producer Brian Eno that their third LP was "music to do housework to". Bearing in mind this album has a song called Paper, which equates paper with romance, who knows what metaphors might be gleaned from hoovering or doing the laundry? This kind of disengaged reasoning, where seemingly unconnected phenomena become so many connecting synapses, is all over Fear Of Music, which came in a sleeve embossed with the pattern of stainless steel flooring. But if it can be oblique and nervy - see how opener I Zimbra places gibberish verbiage by Dada poet Hugo Ball within a dense Afro-rhythm-a-thon - there's a sense of vitality and even fun in this whistle-able, propellant music that somehow seems milliseconds out of sync with itself. There are some top pop moments; Life During Wartime manages to sound mundane and dangerous, and Cities sees Byrne barking like a dog; the sweetly sad Heaven, meanwhile, makes eternal life sound dead boring as "a place where nothing ever happens." The feverish rhythms and outré psych-states would find more commercial expression on 1980's Remain In Light, but to play music as strange as this and still get paying customers is still a thing of wonder.