Harper Simon has enjoyed a varied career to date, that has seen him work on many exciting projects, such as working Sesame Street, writing music for Abel Ferrara movies and playing in a Nick Drake tribute band with Graham Coxon, to working as a session player for Yoko Ono and Carl Perkins, to name but a few. Following a critically acclaimed debut album, which saw Harper record with members of the original Nashville A-team, he returns with his second album, Division Street. He is the son of Paul Simon and Peggy Harper (“silver girl” in ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water). Harper Simon therefore comes from music royalty, but any comparisons must be put aside to enable us to be able to give this album a fair review and to delve into the artist that he is.
The albums opens up with Veteran’s Parade, which sounds a bit like something from the 60’s, or as if it comes from a little obscure indie band, it is mellow, gentle and relaxing to listen to and his vocals are very soothing. The albums ups its tempo and shifts several gears up on the second song, with the fantastic Bonnie Brae. It is a tale of near-miss love, with some specifically great lyrics, which has an infectious pop melody and a song that a lot of people will be able to relate to. Bonnie Brae is very hooky and we defy you to listen to the song, then try to get it out of your head, you won’t be able to! We think that it’s a great choice to be the first single to be released from the album, it’s a really great track, which could become a great summer anthem, we love it! We have to say that we also absolutely love Eternal Questions, which we think is to do with the opening guitar, which is insanely catchy. The guitar riffs instantly transport and suck you into the song for a gorgeous few minutes of songwriting gold. Dixie Cleopatra is another song that we adore and it is probably fighting with Eternal Questions and Bonnie Bray for our favourite on the album. Title track Division Street and Leaves Of Golden Brown are also songs that we feel are greatly crafted songs that really stand out. Division Street has some sexy and dirty sounding guitars and Harper’s vocals then gently slide into the song and continue throughout the song, which has some very cool lyrics.
The songs on this album simply speak volumes for the artist that Harper Simon has become. We found that we enjoyed this album immensely and we’re pretty hooked on it! Harper’s voice is genuine, soft and tender. He doesn’t just churn out any old lyrics, but he takes the time to write songs that he feels are fun, that his friends would like to listen to and by doing so, he keeps his integrity and stays true to himself, which reflects in the record. Harper is a rare talent that is capable of writing some pretty wonderful, accurate, vivid and descriptive lyrics, which have been crafted to perfection.
This album is something of a mash up of folk-rock, part-inide, part alternative-rock, with a slight nod to the psychedelic in an extremely subtle way. The album is guitar driven and sounds as if it could have been released in the 60’s, 90’s or in the present day, it’s just something that we feel is a modern day classic that will probably stand the test of time in being a record that will not date. The sound is an album that is also very updated, very now, very original and very interesting. It’s an album that we could play over and over and over again and not get bored of listening to it. It’s also an album that we feel that we could come back to again in a few weeks time and discover something else and something new about it. Division Street is a real gem.