Bob Boilen at NPR:
If a brain in a jar could observe the world, make sense of it and churn it into a batch of songs, it would make the album American Utopia. This brilliantly analytical album is from David Byrne — an American treasure, an artistic thinker and creator responsible, in part, for the some of the most memorable and distinctive music of the past 40 years. His albums and myriad other projects have been made possible by a lifetime of collaborators that include Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison of the band Talking Heads, his now four-decade friendship with producer Brian Eno and, more recently, with the artists St. Vincent and Fatboy Slim. American Utopia is billed as David Byrne's first solo album since 2004. But solo in his case doesn't mean alone; it means "Everybody's Coming to My House," the title of the album's penultimate track and an apt description of the record's cast of characters.
American Utopia's origins began with tracks from Brian Eno and it grew and morphed from there, bringing in other collaborators and musicians, including producer Rodaidh McDonald (The xx, King Krule, Adele), producer Patrick Dillett (Nile Rogers, Sufjan Stevens,) drummer Joey Waronker (Atoms for Peace, Beck), Isaiah Barr on sax (Onyx Collective) Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman) on mellotron, Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) on keys and electronics, singer and pianist Sampha and Brian Eno on keys, brass, whistling, robot rhythm guitar and more. The list of contributors is actually longer than this. But, suffice it to say, that inspiration for this record came from an awful lot of talent. The music is intense, it's playful and quite memorable.