INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
The Wire SEPTEMBER 1991 - by Mike Fish
BRIAN ENO: MY SQUELCHY LIFE
Eno rocks! Some of the time. Well, he always did, actually. Here Come The Warm Jets and Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) have endured because of their snapping energy; Another Green World, because of its prescient mastery of synthetics, pop and lush soundscaping. Incredible to think that the latter record is now sixteen years old.
Now, in our new world order of musics, Eno goes back to song basics. If last year's collaboration with John Cale was Eno as recitalist, My Squelchy Life brings back Eno the uneasy pop master, scrambling the forms of an alternative Top 20 and coming up with birs of crystalline beauty, distorted ugliness and avant garde meanderings. It's the real sequel to Another Green World. But it's not quite the triumph which that record represented.
For one thing, some of the pieces seem unrealised. Ju Ju Space Jazz, which has Eno on tenor sax, sounds like a half-hearted ethnological forgery, and Little Apricot is - get this - a straight piano solo. Even the lead-off, I Fall Up, seems to be King's Lead Hat reheated at a lower temperature. Which is a little exasperating, since elsewhere one can find some of the best Eno yet on record. The title track is an amazing collage of rhythm study and carefully-found voices; Tutti Forgetti is one of his "list" songs, set to a strange fantasy of conga beats; Everybody's Mother is as outer-spaced as Eno will ever get, and when it passes into the succeeding Step Up My Boys, it's as transcendent as pop textures can ever be. Some Words is simply beautiful.
In other words, it's as endearing and indispensable as every Eno record. No masterpiece but not to be missed.