Critic's Choice

David Byrne

To listen to each successive David Byrne (Thursday, May 24, at the Fillmore Auditorium) release is to witness the continuing evolution of an odd, skinny butterfly. It's as if the Scotsman-turned-Manhattanite hatched from a cocoon that was built in a forgotten jar of habanero peppers, his sleeping, developing mind informed by the crazy-quilt sounds of a New York bodega. Byrne's been on his own longer than Talking Heads were together, and it's always been pretty clear that he was the creative one in the family. His latest, Look Into the Eyeball, demonstrates that he has fully incorporated the Brazilian and African rhythms he became so enamored of in the late '80s and early '90s into his own peculiar breed of catchy, optimistic, but challenging, pop. Along the way, he may have alienated some of the fair-weather fans who joined the Talking Heads bandwagon late in their travels from underground art-school weirdos playing at CBGB to classic-rock-radio staples. But even without that breed of fan -- perhaps especially without them -- Byrne has transformed himself into something that transcends all the genres from which he draws without being too subservient to any of them. He breaches the surface of his particular pool of sounds and emerges as something wholly new and wonderful. Oh, and he usually plays some T. Heads music at his live shows, too.

 
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