Composer Brian Eno has traditionally separated his pop vocal works and ambient instrumental releases. For ForeverAndEverNoMore (Opal), Eno combines the two to lament the wretched status of humans on the Earth. His earlier word-salad vocals have been replaced by slow chants and laments. The synthesizer arrangements can shift suddenly from floating melodies to wild dissonance recalling Nine Inch Nails.

The first nine tracks leave an aftertaste of resignation for humans and their failure to save the planet. Yet the long final track, “Making Gardens Out of Silence in the Uncanny Valley,” composed with his brother Roger and niece Cecily, leave the slightest traces of hope that maybe we aren’t doomed to vanish in a decade or two. 

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Dry Cleaning, Stumpwork (4AD)– Dry Cleaning hovers closest to spoken performance poetry of any of the new British Dadaist bands, thanks to the flat yet startling monologues of “singer” Florence Shaw. While the debut album was a novelty, this second work proves Dry Cleaning has multifaceted staying power. The opener “Anna Calls from the Arctic” inspires through smooth saxophones. Later tracks like “Gary Ashby” and “Kwenchy Kups” feature guitar riffs as complex as those of the band Television, all while Shaw rambles surrealism with a Marianne Faithfull delivery. 

Arctic Monkeys, The Car (Domino) – In 2006, Arctic Monkeys’ spirited post-punk delivery revitalized dance floors. Since then, vocalist Alex Turner has tried to outdo himself in lyrics and delivery with every new album. This time, Turner sounds like Nat King Cole fronting the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. The lyrics are complex and intriguing, the arrangements have fine moments, but if the other members of the Sheffield, U.K., band knew 16 years ago they’d end up this syrupy, would they have given up the ghost?