20 Watts

20 Watts Reviews David Byrne and Fatboy Slim’s Here Lies Love by ambiguitron
April 6, 2010, 2:26 pm
Filed under: Releases of the Week, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Here Lies Love is a competent but unspectacular collaboration.

PREVIEW: Visit David Byrne’s Website
WE GIVE IT: 13/20 Watts

The gimmick of David Byrne’s ever-growing list of collaborations and guest appearances is reaching a decisive point. With “Here Lies Love,” the listener must decide whether the novelty of the name holds any weight in regard to the actual music.

In the album’s opening tracks, one would think that the orchestral camp and romanticized lyrical content is intentionally self-effacing. But the b-list musical feel of many of the songs seems pretty genuine, and while the presence of Norman Cook might seem like a hopeful auditory asset, his beats and textures are mostly pushed out to the periphery of the album’s sound. Obviously, there are a few exceptions, such as “How Are You,” which is more courageously electrified than most of the tracks. The hilariously bizarre war ballad “A Perfect Hand” makes for some classic Byrne satire, though it’s still a far cry from “Life During Wartime.”

On the whole, the album is undoubtedly solid in its sound and consistency. The arrangements work in favor of all things catchy and inoffensive. But the mixture of individual elements on Byrne and Cook’s parts – both equally uninspired – leave the album sounding like a very dated band trying to redeem itself with a sprinkle of modern production techniques. The result is a competent but bland collection of songs, stranded in a purgatory of vision that fails to produce any of the standout individuality both artists were originally known for.

—Dan Powell

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