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Brian Eno - Wrong Way Up (with John Cale) CD (album) cover

WRONG WAY UP (WITH JOHN CALE)

Brian Eno

 

Progressive Electronic

2.68 | 31 ratings

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Peter
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars No, Eno and Cale's WRONG WAY UP is not what I'd classify as a "prog" album. It is, rather, a pop album , and one which I thoroughly enjoy.

This 1990 release found Brian Eno (who should need no introduction here) and former cello prodigy John Cale (ex Velvet Underground) entering the studio for a collaborative effort which would see Eno putting aside his longstanding ambient experiments to record his first new pop songs (with vocals, yet!) since 1977's BEFORE AND AFTER SCIENCE. As a confirmed Eno fan from way back, I was excited to discover WRONG WAY UP, and doubly pleased when I got it home to find an album of solid, well-crafted songs. (I have always favoured Eno's pop persona over his "king of ambient" incarnation. The ambient albums are fine, and particularly suited to relaxing, but they sure don't make me grin, or tap my foot.)

Eno and Cale had worked together before, on the highly-regarded live concert supergroup recording KEVIN AYERS, JOHN CALE, ENO & NICO: JUNE 1, 1974, and these two seasoned and justly famous art musicians jell very well again here. WRONG WAY UP is a polished, professional and pleasurable album of ten songs which run from one at just under three minutes, to one at over five minutes. (Most are around 4.5 minutes.) Artful string accents, memorable melodies, cool beats and grooves, plus excellent vocals and harmonies are the order of the day. For my tastes, there's not a weak cut in the set, but my especial favourites include the catchy opener "Lay My Love," featuring lots of Cale's cello; Cale's beautifully spare and moving "Cordoba," in which he sings of a seemingly futile attempt to reconnect with a dying friend; Eno's absolutely uplifting "Spinning Away" with its ringing, African-style guitars; the up-tempo "Been There Done That;" and the sing-along, soothing album ender "The River."

If you're a "prog only" type who disdains any and all pop, don't buy this CD. If, however, you have an appreciation for intelligent, finely-executed pop, and/or if you enjoy feel-good Eno songs such as "King's Lead Hat" and "Backwater," then try WRONG WAY UP for a change of perspective. Good stuff.

Peter | 3/5 |

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