Dusted Reviews

Brian Eno - Another Day On Earth

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Brian Eno

Album: Another Day On Earth

Label: Hannibal

Review date: Jun. 12, 2005

It’s been a long time since Brian Eno made a song-based album: 13 years if you consider the subliminal chants and scraps of dialogue buried in Nerve Net’s grooves to be songs, or 15 if you go back to Wrong Way Up, his collaboration with John Cale. It’d be foolish to expect an artist as restless as Eno to simply cough up another “Baby’s On Fire” or “St. Elmo’s Fire” or “The River,” but not unfair to expect him to match their quality, and on that score this record is a disappointment. While there’s no disputing the attractiveness of its well-polished recording – it’ll be used to test a lot of new-stereo purchases in the coming year – it’s patchy and even, in places, disturbingly adult-contemporary.

The record kicks off promisingly with “This,” whose percolating percussion and soaring, gospel-tinged melody would have fit well on “Wrong Way Up.” There’s an appealing yearning quality to Eno’s singing that suits the kaleidoscopic lyric, and some nice, fluid guitar work, too. But the next track, “And Then So Clear,” flies way off course. If there’s one thing we should be able to expect from Eno, it’s that he’ll exercise good judgment regarding the qualities of sounds; pitch-shifting his voice so it sounds like Cher’s on “Do You Believe In Life After Love?” is an unforgivable gaffe, no matter how pretty the bed of rounded guitar and keyboard tones. Later, a similar effect mars “Bottomliners.” Less tragic, but still regrettable, is the needlessly busy slap bass on “Under,” a soulful song that would have benefited from less bottom-end action and more vocal presence. Other tracks are pleasant enough, but so soft and slow that the words are no more assertive than bits of tapioca in a nice but forgettable pudding.

Eno’s rationale for returning to the form is that lyric-based music challenges him and instrumental music does not. Fair enough, but if Eno had something to say, he really ought to have delivered his lines with a bit more force and respect.

The record’s not a complete bust: “How Many Worlds” has a lovely string arrangement; “Bonebomb” is one of the odder and more intriguing death songs I’ve heard in recent years; “Passing Over” has some attractively dark timbres and a welcome dose of rhythmic tension; and the title song captures an air of commingled resignation, hope, and gratitude.

But a master brewer should be able to come up with more than a half-full glass after a decade and a half; with that in mind, Another Day On Earth is small beer.

By Bill Meyer

Other Reviews of Brian Eno

Drums Between the Bells

Panic of Looking


Read More

View all articles by Bill Meyer

Find out more about Hannibal

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.