When ambient inventor and theorist Brian Eno releases the first album where he sings in ages, it’s sadly not quite the bang it could have been. I didn’t exactly hope, or even wish, for a 2005 version of his 1973 solo debut “Here Come the Warm Jets” - an album so magnificent in its multilayered richness of treated instruments and quirky pop sensibilities that it may be said to have prefigured both David Bowie’s Berlin era and Legendary Pink Dots, to name just a few. But I did hope that Eno had set his sights higher than at delivering 45 minutes of lukewarm ambient ballads.
That’s not to say that “Another Day on Earth” is by any means bad. Eno’s voice still has that slightly cold and detached yet compelling quality that’s made me wish he’d let it out in the studio a bit more often. The album also has its fair share of memorable moments, not least the opening track “This”, an unlikely pop moment that pokes its fuzzy fingers right through the brain and into the most sensitive spots of the spine, rejuvenating nerve endings and stirring up emotions with its rare beauty.
But the bulk of “Another Day on Earth” is far removed from the impact of that song, and has soon lost the ability to keep me captivated. And I was hoping for more than background music from this album.