A simultaneous anniversary re-release alongside ‘Spinner’, Eno’s collaboration with Jah Wobble five years later, this is another meeting of great minds with John Cale. The former was very much immersed in Eno’s ambient soundscape world, whereas this album draws from his brace of accessible yet slightly skewed pop albums in the seventies.
For many, this was Eno’s most fertile and interesting period, where albums like ‘Here Come the Warm Jets’ and ‘Another Green World’ subverted the pop-song format; plus we also got to hear him actually sing, which is a thing of rare beauty.
So after a couple of decades shrouded in atmospheric instrumental evocative mists, this collaboration coaxed Eno back to the business end of the microphone, with delightful results. John Cale and Eno had worked together in the past, appearing as guests on each other’s records, and notably on the live album, ‘June 1st, 1974’ with Nico and Kevin Ayers, recorded at the Rainbow Theatre.
On this album they share singing duties, across a number of moods and styles. ‘Lay My Love’ and ‘One Word’ could sit easily on ‘Another Green World’, and you can faintly sense the long arm of other old pal David Byrne.
Elsewhere there is quirky pop (‘Footsteps’, ‘Been There Done That’), warped old-school Boogie-Woogie (‘Crime in the Desert’) and the floaty evocative (‘The River’, ‘Cordoba’). Bonus track ‘Grandfather’s House’ is as heart-wrenching as Tom Waits at his most bittersweet.
Despite alleged friction in the studio, this album brought out the very best in both parties, and contains songs that will worm their way into your heart effortlessly, and stay for the duration. A lost masterpiece? Almost certainly. Essential listening? Definitely.
Wrong Way Up is out now on All Saints Records, on vinyl and CD. Bonus tracks for vinyl available as a free download.