BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Admittedly, it’s difficult to be the offspring of a world-renowned icon. Expectation runs rampant. So it was probably a wise strategy that found Paul Simon’s son Harper avoiding comparisons entirely and opting instead for the rabid rock ‘n’ roll that dominates this sophomore set.
Truth be told, Simon also skirts his own image; where his eponymous debut emphasized the lowered gaze his dad brings to bear, Division Street finds a more common bond with the abrasive attitude fostered during his tenure with punk posers Menlo Park. Still, it’s not a wholesale reversal; even the more strident songs – “Veterans Parade,” “Bonnie Brae,” “Dixie Cleopatra” and “Nothing Gets Through” – feature Simon’s vocals in withdrawal mode — hushed, reserved and all but buried in the mix. Happily however, as the set progresses, Simon seems to shore up his resolve. “Eternal Questions” is both upbeat and effusive, “99” is as perky as it is propulsive, and “Breathe Out Love” sounds nimble and noteworthy. Likewise, those that expect the younger Simon to be a chip off the old rock may find some consolation in “Just Like St. Teresa,” a rare acoustic ramble that reaffirms the gene pool and would likely find the senior Simon offering paternal approval as well.
DOWNLOAD: “Just Like St. Teresa,” “99,” “Eternal Questions”