Picks and Pans Review: Little Creatures
Ever since their first album in 1977 the Talking Heads have been trying to put their finger on something urgent and elusive: how, in an impersonal, mass-market society, people can feel emotionally connected and authentically alive. Back on Talking Heads '77, David Byrne's lyrics and edgy, mechanized rhythms suggested that anxiety and indecisiveness were the two big culprits isolating people from each other. The band's continuing effort to describe alienation peaked in 1979 with Fear of Music. With Remain in Light in 1980, they began to look for solutions and found an ideal in the collectivism of African and funk rhythm—a large community of instruments, each playing its small but important part, the whole surpassing any individual contribution. Now the Heads have arrived at a new vision of deliverance: simplicity itself. The lyrics suggest that ecstasy lies in not overrationalizing one's actions, in making a commitment to one's beliefs and, most interestingly, in embracing all one's uncool, sloppy, basic human emotions, such as the urge to have babies and to coo over them. The music meanwhile puts melody foremost. And the melodies are the most memorable Byrne has created. The album's mood is strangely beatific, shimmering and inviting. The instrumental work is economical but rich in nuance. Especially strong are Tina Weymouth's bass playing and Byrne's singing. Once a virtual squawking head as a singer, he has become a master of inflection and phrasing. (Sire)
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