Considering Daniel Lanois’ impressive résumé,
those unfamiliar with the producer/songwriter’s solo work certainly wouldn’t be faulted for expecting something truly excellent on his fourth proper album, Belladonna
. A frequent collaborator of Brian Eno’s (working with him on much of his groundbreaking ambient material in the ’80s), Lanois has also produced albums by Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris and Peter Gabriel, to name a few.
But despite this veritable laundry list of credibility, Lanois’ latest merely shows flickers of greatness, opting mostly for stagnant compositions over moving arrangements. Although this restrained, instrumental release is obviously not the type of music intended for a dance party, nearly all the songs on Belladonna go beyond subtle, ending up in an area best described as comatose. Unless you’re in dire need of a sleep aid, avoid this album.