Remain in Light

(1980), 10/10
Remain in Light marked the peak of development for a group who had evolved markedly over the previous three years. Eno and the group created dense soundscapes, bringing in guest musicians including ace guitarist Adrian Belew (about to join King Crimson) who plays some stunning solos, notably in ‘The Great Curve’. The focus is on rhythm; the rhythm tracks were written before vocals, guitars and keyboards were overlaid. The resulting product is a unique sounding blend of creepy and lush funk. Remain in Light is a sonic journey. There is a progression away from the hyper opener ‘Born Under Punches’, where each song is quieter than the one that came before; by the time of apocalyptic ‘The Overload’ the album has ground to a disturbing and menacing silence. Although the lyrics are mostly a stream of consciousness, sometimes they hit an amazingly incisive truth; ‘Crosseyed and Painless’ informs the listener  “facts all come with points of view/facts don’t do what I want them to.” Remain in Light is continuously complex and intelligent as it travels through a coherent cycle of styles. It’s easily one of the best albums of the 1980s, although curiously the Heads never sought to reach the same ambitious heights again and headed for a more stripped back sound with their subsequent albums.

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