Album Reviews

Fred again.., Brian Eno – Secret Life – Album Review

Fred again.., Brian Eno – Secret Life – Album Review
by Killian Laher

Composer Brian Eno is a man who can’t sit still. While making his name through the creation of primarily instrumental music, over the years he has teamed up with everyone from David Bowie to U2 to Coldplay and now… the immensely popular dance producer Fred Gibson, who records as Fred Again for this collaborative album. Despite coming from seemingly different worlds, they have released this as a joint project in both their names. So what does it sound like?

I Saw You combines Eno’s electronics with a manipulated vocal from Gibson. You find yourself waiting for a dance beat to kick in but it never arrives. Their styles struggle to gel on some tracks, such as Secret, which has echoes of Leonard Cohen’s In My Secret Life, and Radio with a slightly uncomfortable mix of muffled beats and Gibson intoning “come on home”. Enough is probably the most fully realised track, and most successful collaboration with a stately melody and echoey vocals, yet still remaining vague and undefined like the rest of the album. Safety is disjointed, with the zen music accompanied by indistinct sounds, presumably from Gibson. His vocal on Cmon is manipulated to sound shaky but it just acts as a distraction. Chest is quite satisfying from an Eno point of view, it’s the track that seems to bear the least influence of Gibson. The final track Come On Home is muted stuff, a bookend to the earlier track Radio, repeating the main motif.

I suspect this album is going to be very well received, as a stroke of genius by both artists. But the fact is it sounds like listening to a Brian Eno album with a Fred Again gig playing at the end of the road and the sound bleeding through. It’s very much a comedown album, probably easier for Eno fans to get their heads around than Fred Again fans.

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