As a long-time fan of one of the greatest rock bands ‘Talking Heads’, it’s good to see that the members of the band are still working hard in the music business in spite of their breakup. Band’s ex-frontman David Byrne released a new single ‘Who’ with the help of a famous female artist ‘St. Vincent’, and Tom Tom Club, a kind of side project of Talking Heads and whose members are Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, started to sell their new EP ‘Downtown Rockers’ online. What really amazed me is that the songs of David Byrne and Tom Tom Club are not just old-fashioned songs that appeal to ’80s rock-n-roll fans and they are rather contemporary and state-of-art. This is partly because they are great musicians and so have kept up with the pop music trends, and partly because current music styles, such as danceable funky beats and exotic melodies, are based upon the great funky new wave band ‘Talking Heads’. That’s why they are not falling behind younger musicians. One of my favorite singes in ‘Downtown Rockers’ so far is ‘Sweets to the sweet’, which has a sophisticated but catchy melody.
The flip side and the legacy are so much brighter. On stage, Tina Weymouth sparkles with glowing youth. Chris Frantz is the happiest dude on the planet, owner of a perma-smile that is nothing short of contagious. And as a band Tom Tom Club perform in a groove that is eminently danceable – any attempt not to would be pure folly. Though playing tunes from two decades before last, Tom Tom Club perform as if they are fresh cuts – and they could be. ‘L’Elephant’ is perky quirk-pop, ‘The Man With The Four Way Hips’ is bouncy dub-reggae, ‘Disco Lolita’ is disco-punk (which they dedicate to Debbie Harry) and ‘Dark Sneak Love’ is synthy-electro – and the synths did squelch!
The music on Ride, Rise, Roar (beautifully recorded, by the way) concentrates on tunes from the Eno/Heads collaborations of the late 70s/early 80s and the Byrne/Eno Everything That Happens Will Happen Today album released in 2008. The personnel listing looks surprisingly sparse, with the dancers and background singers (three each) outnumbering the musicians – including Byrne, who holds down the guitar berth. Fear not, though: this is an ensemble that thrives on the groove – when things are cooking, Byrne and company are simply one big ol’ rhythm beast.