David Byrne and St. Vincent Bring Hip-Swivelers to ‘Fallon’

“Prog you can dance to.” That’s how Michael Chabon, the author of the out-today novel Telegraph Avenue, described the Brian Eno-produced Talkings Heads albums, and Heads lead talker David Byrne and Eno’s album-length collaboration My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, in an interview this week. Though “prog” has had negative connotations among many music obsessives for longer than SPIN has existed, Chabon meant the term affectionately, and it’s in that same spirit that his phrase could be applied to Byrne and St. Vincent’s ace performance last night on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

White-maned Byrne’s silvery bray, Annie “St. Vincent” Clark’s unmistakable melismas, and their baroque, don’t-fix-it brass backing on this TV rendition of “Who” — the first video selection from their album-length collaboration Love This Giant, also out today — demonstrate muso mastery that’s every bit as impressive live as on record, but also deeply, hip-swivelingly funky. Clark takes more of the lead on “The Forest Awakes,” a web exclusive that landscapes a similarly horn-ate backdrop with naturalistic imagery. Good thing Byrne and Vincent remember this is a party, this is a disco, just one that doesn’t fear proggy intricacy.


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