Harper Simon – Division Street
It would be easy to see the calibre of guest musicians on Division Street – including members of The Strokes, Elvis Costello’s Attractions, Wilco and Bright Eyes – and cynically conclude that being the son of a star doesn’t half help grease the wheels. But such an assumption pays Harper ‘son of Paul’ Simon a massive disservice, with his music more than strong enough to stand on its own two feet.
His vintage rock/country/folk style isn’t overly concerned with originality, but breezily up-tempo tracks like Nothing Gets Through convey an inherited ear for melody and a knack for rendering same-old sounds newly inviting. Crisp production transmits a slick but not misplaced confidence, and while the lack of surprises stunts Division Street’s memorability, it gets in its share of peaks before attentions wane, from the throbbing bassline and garage guitar of Dixie Cleopatra, to quiet closer Leaves of Golden Brown. [Chris Buckle]