However high-caliber the partners, any joint creative venture can fall on its face if that crucial dynamic spark is lacking. But this pairing has a history together. Along with Jon Hopkins, Leo Abrahams and Australian experi-jazz troupe the Necks, Brian Eno’s 2010 live project Pure Scenius also featured Karl Hyde, whose poignant spoken-word narratives helped distinguish Underworld from their house-by-numbers peers.
Someday World is Eno and Hyde’s debut long plunge and it is neither an exercise in ambient soundscaping nor experimentation. But then, Eno has worked with commercial pop titans such as Dido, U2 and Coldplay, and last year, Hyde delivered Edgeland, a guitar-based solo album.
These nine songs are built along fairly conventional lines, but they are shaped by a shared interest in both the cyclical power of African traditional music and the linear drive of ’70s kosmische. The set opens with a breezily insistent “The Satellites,” which is anchored by blasting brass and Eno’s sonorous vocal, then switches mood for the crisp synth pop of “Daddy’s Car” and “A Man Wakes Up”, where Hyde’s poetic sprechgesang is underpinned by jazzy, high-life guitar patterns. Less convincing are “Witness” (Paul Simon with a motorik makeover) and closer “To Us All” (which recalls U2′s “One Love”), but the pair are again on track with the darkly sweet “Mother of a Dog” and “Who Rings the Bell,” which suggests The Invisible tackling an ancient English hymn. No boundaries are being boldly pushed with Someday World, but the sound of clearly compatible, major-league talents at work is satisfaction enough.