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Brady Harris | Lone Star (Lampshade)
Wearing your Beatles influences too openly and self-consciously rarely works for Brits, don't you find? The brothers Gallagher spring to mind. But Americans can get away with it better, it seems. Elliott Smith springs to mind here, and when listening to 'Lone Star'. Brady Harris has a voice a lot like John Lennon's, you see, and so the fab four comparisons litter his press. The first two tracks on here are probably the most Beatles-y and, although they set out the man's stall, are probably the least gripping ?? too much harmony and Ringo drums, a little too self-consciously Side 2 of 'Abbey Road'. But Good to Know and Streets of Spain rack up the interest by being good songs that don't need to flaunt their baggage. Later there's a song called Can't wait 2CU, which is almost white-boy funky and looks a lot like a Prince title - and there's another American who has mined '60s influences pretty fruitfully. Mr Harris' history includes busking down South Kensington tube and a band called The Solid Goldsteins. This is his third album and he now lives in the Venice that isn't in Italy. You'll see him described as a practitioner of country-tinged pop, or vice versa, but he must have thrown off a lot of his old country influences for this one because you'll be hard pressed to spot more than the odd pedal steel. As I type several more cute songs slip by ?? Amethyst strums and chimes and features that rarity, the non-embarrassing whistling break. Ordinary Song's stately pacing follows well, and teams some classical tinkling with some gentle George Harrison guitar. There I go again ?? I truly don't think that this disc can be dismissed as pastiche, but if you can't stand '60s pop you'll probably not go a bundle on this, but you'd probably not go for Elliott Smith either. You're missing out on some big pop treats in both cases.

Jeff Cotton
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003