Harper Simon – Division Street


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1. Veterans Parade
2. Bonnie Brae
3. Division Street
4. Dixie Cleopatra
5. Eternal Questions
6. Chinese Jade
7. Just Like St. Teresa
8. 99
9. Breathe Out Love
10. Leaves Of Golden Brown

Verdict: 3.5 / 5

Many children like to follow in the footsteps of their parents. Nothing wrong with that, it can often be a wonderful way of continuing a legacy, of forging new bonds as a child takes what a parent has done and pushes it forward into a new generation. It gets a little harder when your parent is a famous celebrity. At best you’ll be accused of riding their coat strings for an easy ride; with none of the genuine effort put in required of a new artist. However, Harper Simon, son of musician Paul Simon, has managed to produce a noteworthy album with Division Street, his second solo album. It seems only a shame that any comparison should be left lingering between father and son.

Simon’s debut album was a decidedly more country affair, with this installment being a more traditional alt-rock album. It genuinely surprised me when I heard he was 40 years old, because this production sounds very much like an up and coming band by a few teenagers in the studio. I say this because Simon seems to have captured the tone of the moment, producing a sound that should be very popular amongst the wave of alt-rock that is emerging at present in various indie bands, so all I can say is well done to him.

The tracks are all solid, and often sound much like the melancholic tracks of Elliot Smith in some ways, although their lyrics never hit the same level of despair as his did. Only on one track does Harper ever sound like he’s trying to rip off his dad, and interestingly enough it may well be the weakest track on the album. The rest are pretty good and make for a good album, although the only complaint I can make is that it’s sometimes very hard to make out the poetic lyrics, which are very good and should be more intelligible.

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