FIFTY years young, David "Dave" Bowie retreats positively into his own past methodology, cranking out a tolerable album, writes DAVID BELCHER. For this disc is evidence of Bowie doing what he did so well in the early seventies, ie listening to contemporary cutting-edge music and then deftly re-fashioning it into a more consumer-friendly artefact.
Thus Earthling is an energetic creation which has its moments of thoroughly-modern drum'n'bass, its allusions to industrial art-core guitar-grinding. Bowie also deploys his Ziggy-era helium squeak as well as adopting his old lyrical stance as Mr Dispassionate Outer-Space Observer Observing A World Of Puny Humans Gone Mad. This allows him to create godawful lines like this:
" 'Are you OK? You've been shot in the head. And I've been holding your brains,' the old woman said.' " Despite that, Earthling is a heartening album. Heartening? Yeah... good to see the old boy keeping himself active. Then again, you'll be aware that there's already a rather fabulous trip-lope duo who call themselves Earthling - and whether or not Earthling call their forthcoming second album David Bowie, I feel certain I'll be playing it more than I'll play this.