Robert Harrison – Watching the Kid Come Back
Best known for his work with power pop icons Cotton Mather, Robert Harrison continues to produce some of the finest music of the past decade. There is his series of albums based on the iChing, the Chinese Book of Changes, all of which are worthwhile. In fact, 2016’s Death of the Cool is as good as anything from that year. Now, we get his first solo album entitled Watching the Kid Come Back.
Whereas Cotton Mather was known for lush instrumentation, Harrison takes the “less is more” approach with his latest work. This enables his songwriting prowess to really shine through. Ten tracks in all, Harrison straddles the line between power pop and country effortlessly. Each and every song is impactful.
The album leads off with the poppy “Face in The Crowd”, a guaranteed people pleaser. The title track is as eloquent an expression of the aging experience as any song I’ve heard in years. Gary Newcombe’s pedal steel pulls the heart strings.
The closest Watching the Kid Come Back gets to the old Cotton Mather sound is “Real Live Saytr”. It rocks a little harder than the rest of the record and the instrumentation isn’t as sparse. “Battle Royale” is lyrical genius. “Horns on the left and drums on the right. I’ll take my death march high and tight.” Can’t write ‘em any better than that.
Other highlights include the straight-up country twang of “Blue Water Cool Rain”, the acoustic “Great Auk Stories” and a very pleasing cover of Diana Ross and the Supremes’ “Some Day We’ll Be together”.