“Remain In Light” by Talking Heads - album review

TJR says

With Sire all the while, the fourth album in consecutive years from the New Yorkers was delivered in October, 1980, once again with Brian Eno in the producer's chair which he's occupied since '78. By now, it seems he and Byrne have assumed complete control, to the detriment of inter-group relations. There's simply too much talent within the ranks for players to be reduced to bit-part roles and, tellingly, within the next 12 months there'd be solo records from David Byrne and Jerry Harrison, whilst the husband-and-wife partnership of Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth would apply themselves to a whole new group, the Tom Tom Club. Sparked by the ever-curious Brian Eno and enthusiastically backed by the ever-worldly David Byrne, a vague masterplan was drawn up for this album, whereby they'd introduce the Nigerian highlife to the western world's new wave, inviting clubbers to deeply trance out with a new cerebral brand of primal funk. Fair play to them, they executed the plan skillfully although, for my personal tastes, I'm extremely reluctant to get with that bendy-bass brand of Afrobeat, and the three mildly interesting jams on side one pass me by, neither loved nor hated.

Rocketing the album in my affections, “Once In A Lifetime” gets the formula spot-on, as Byrne becomes the talking head, his lucid-dream-like lyrical delivery connecting beautifully with the existential crisis which, subconsciously or not, lurks within all of us at some stage in our journey. There's no slappy bass to annoy on this one, the deliberate plucks put the punk in the funk, the experimental percussion is Lee-Perry-like and the bubbling keyboards convey a nervous tension throughout. Jerry's final 60 seconds of Velvet Underground drone (borrowed from “What Goes On”) seals the deal on this New Wave masterpiece; their greatest-ever song. Alas, this high is not maintained and I lose connection again - whilst I appreciate the overt shift in tone from side one's funk to side two's dub, much of the content sounds a bit “b-side” to me. The slow down is completed surprisingly with “The Overload” which closes the set in a fashion which would not be out of place in the moodiest section of a Joy Division record. This welcome leftfield turn comes too late to save the record's rating from being anything more than “decent enough”, although my reservations are not widely shared by the critics, many of whom view “Remain In Light” as Talking Heads' magnum opus, and one of the greatest records of all-time.

The Jukebox Rebel
06-Oct-2007

A1 [05:46] 5.6.png Talking Heads - Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) (David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, Brian Eno) Disco / Funk
A2 [04:45] 4.8.png Talking Heads - Crosseyed And Painless (David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, Brian Eno) Alternative Dance
A3 [06:26] 5.2.png Talking Heads - The Great Curve (David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, Brian Eno) Alternative Dance
B1 [04:19] 9.8.png Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime (David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, Brian Eno) New Wave
B2 [04:30] 5.6.png Talking Heads - Houses In Motion (David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, Brian Eno) Dubbeat
B3 [03:20] 5.7.png Talking Heads - Seen And Not Seen (David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, Brian Eno) Dubbeat
B4 [04:42] 5.5.png Talking Heads - Listening Wind (David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, Brian Eno) Dubbeat
B5 [06:00] 6.7.png Talking Heads - The Overload (David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, Brian Eno) Moodcore




care-to-share.png

if-so-thanks.png