ANOTHER DAY ON EARTH
It's been decades since Brian Eno released an album of songs with him singing, though it hasn't been nearly that long since anyone heard his voice. The pop music pioneer's trademark Wall of Eno vocals have appeared on almost all the projects he's worked on since leaving Roxy Music and embarking on parallel careers as a solo artist, intellectual and collaborator with the likes of U2, Talking Heads and David Bowie. But anyone looking forward to an album of electric, eccentric songs will be disappointed by "Another Day on Earth."
Yes, he sings on nearly every track, but the songs are largely passionless, if admittedly lovely. One of Eno's greatest skills is as an arranger and idea generator, but with Eno himself playing most of the disc's music, the tracks largely lack that surprising X-factor, vexing from someone who has contributed so much to music.
Eno has said that his vocal return came in part as a reaction to the increasing effortlessness of ambient composition, but even "Another Day on Earth" highlights like "This," "Bottomliners" and "Just Another Day" fade easily into the background; only "How Many Worlds" is reminiscent of Eno's classic solo work. Considering that the best track, "Under," is a previously released gem from Eno's vaults, one wonders whether the rest of the album serves a similar clearinghouse purpose.
Perhaps with his cupboards cleared of the old, Eno can again start cooking up something new.
-- Joshua Klein