Drums Between the Bells
Always an innovator, Brian Eno’s latest offering is a collaboration with the poet Rick Holland. The soundscape is classic Eno, soothing and churning electronica that seems underwater or otherworldly, while the words are a slice of English modernity.
For the most part, the combination is a treat. “Bless This Space” is just distorted enough to be engaging spoken word, and the robotic nature of “Glitch” is experimental art goodness. However, not every voice on Drums Between the Bells is as enjoyable. “Pour It Out” lacks some flow, and “Seedpods” sounds too much like a bedtime story being read. Also, the inclusion of “Silence,” a minute of pause described by its title, was completely unnecessary.
Still, overall it’s a feat of bringing out the poetic qualities in lyrics, and it holds together as a work of art. Drums Between the Bells is also available as a double album, which includes the instrumental versions of all the songs. I found the straight music to be an easier listen because it slides by before you even notice, something that Eno has mastered over the years. Holland’s words bring the contemplation of society, that good poetry should engage, and Eno’s magical touch makes everything worth a listen.