"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Metro Pulse JULY 16, 2014 - by Matthew Everett
ENO/HYDE: HIGH LIFE
Brian Eno nods to African music with the title of his new album with the English synth-pop veteran Karl Hyde. But High Life isn't a sequel to My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, Eno's 1981 world-music collage collaboration with David Byrne. It's an odd album; there are clear references to Nigerian highlife, the jazz-influenced African pop music that gives the album its name, in the track DBF.
But elsewhere High Life sounds conflicted and vaguely nostalgic, with echoes of U2, Roxy Music, and Eno's solo rock albums from the '70s. What ties it all together is Hyde's meticulous guitar-playing, which covers the various styles presented here but keeps them all connected to each other. The only real misstep is the next-to-last song, Moulded Life, which reeks of late-'90s dance music, but the floating ambient closer, Cells & Bells, feels out of place on this album - Hyde's presence barely registers.
High Life is the second Eno/Hyde collaboration in as many months, following May's Someday World. The new album is easily the better of the two, and as good as it is to hear Eno sing again after so many years, it still feels slight.