Brian Eno – Drums Between The Bells (Warp/Border) CD REVIEW

IT’S A POOR excuse, really, but I’ve been putting off listening to Brian Eno’s latest album because it’s a collaborative work with, well… a poet. The words on Drums Between The Bells are by a chap called Rick Holland, and I never quite seem to be in the mood to sit down and listen to poetry.
How silly of me. I should have known that Eno wouldn’t torture us with an album of poetry readings. Holland’s words are used sparingly, and effectively, on a wide variety of musical interludes and compositions that vary from brisk, bleeping electronica to rose-petal ambient. His music isn’t just background to the words, and the words themselves are subservient to the sound of the voices; and the voices themselves differ wildly. There are male and female voices, and most interestingly, computer-processed voices, and it all makes for quite an intriguing listen.
It’s certainly a much better work than Eno’s previous album, Small Craft On A Milk Sea, which came out early this year. That work, as good as parts of it were, lacked coherence, and was too episodic to really sink into.
While Drums Between The Bells doesn’t approach the brilliance or wonder of Eno’s last great album, 2001’s Drawn From Life, it’s great in small doses, and contains some truly great moments. And it sounds good, too. GARY STEEL
Music = 3.5/5
Sound = 4/5

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