Son Continues to Rise
Though it’s impossible to omit a mention to his legendary father, Sean Lennon has certainly carved out a musical identity all his own over the years. Still, one cannot escape the influence of genetics, as even on a track like “Last Call” a beautiful psychedelic mini-suite that maybe seems a little more Paul than John. Sean’s voice just sounds so much like his father’s that you often get a chill. That said, the arrangements, production and everything else swirling around in the mix here do much to keep that chill there. A good chunk of this “everything else” is, of course, the partner ingredient to the GOASTT proceedings, Charlotte Kemp Muhl, whose contributions to the album give a modern beauty to the vintage psychedelic landscapes.
This is one of the albums where the production almost acts like a instrument all its own, and as one might expect, a whiz like Mark Ronson is key in this degree. Take a track like “Animals,” where percussive elements rattle around with a thrift-store acoustic guitar rhythm under a beautiful layered harmony vocal. That’s just the first fifteen seconds of the track, and that alone is a textbook example of excellent bodacious production. Then you take a track like “Xanadu” a Beck-ish piece of eastern tinged guitar psychedelic weirdness that has a unabashed modern flair. Both tracks display different sides, different moods, and yet all the elements paint these beautifully vivid pictures in your mind, especially when aided by lyrics like “She’s a lipstick anarchist.”
This is a perfect album of its type, as it bends genre enough throughout without losing focus, and the adventures it takes the listener on are not aimless rambles, but guided tours of rock n’ roll history. There are too many gorgeous moments abound on this record to give any four or five any special attention without running the risk of turning the review into a novella, so it can be left saying that an investment in this album is worth every moment. It’s not a matter of Sean Lennon stepping out of the shadows anymore; it’s just the ordinary story of a talented artist(s) continuing to tailor a voice and vision in effective and affective ways.