Review: Dhani Harrison confident as father’s son, free agent
Dhani Harrison, “In Parallel” (BMG)
Put away your “here comes the son” puns.
On his album “In Parallel,” Dhani Harrison doesn’t hide from — nor does he duplicate — the sounds of his late father, George Harrison. The younger Harrison builds on the legacy in a way that seems at once familiar, original and assured.
To say that Harrison shouldn’t have learned a thing or two from his Beatle father is ludicrous. Dhani Harrison was alive for the last 20 years of the elder Harrison’s solo career, and he appeared on and also worked with veteran producer Jeff Lynne on his father’s final album, “Brainwashed.” He also has been intimately involved in musical tributes to his father with Lynne, Tom Petty and others. Both men, veterans of George Harrison’s beloved Traveling Wilburys, are thanked by Dhani Harrison in his album’s liner notes. He dedicates the record to late Beatles producer George Martin.
The listener would be hard-pressed not to hear the Beatlesque and Harrisonian touches on several songs, including the lead-off “Never Know” and “All About Waiting.” The latter is reminiscent of his father in subject matter and musical structure, though the pulsing beat owes more to the clubs. The closer, “Admiral of Upside Down,” wouldn’t seem out of place on the Beatles’ “Abbey Road,” home of “Here Comes the Sun.” The new song’s minor-key progressions, harmonies and abrupt ending sound like an homage to the 1969 album’s side one closer, “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).”
Of course, influences and preferences spread well beyond his fab, familial roots. ”#WarOnFalse,” ″Ulfur Resurrection” and others incorporate industrial, techno or ’80s dance rock, at times reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode and Eurythmics. And the sprawling, cacophonous and baroque “London Water,” a duet with Mereki, recalls Peter Gabriel — particularly his sublime 1980s and early ’90s collaborations with Kate Bush and Sinead O’Connor.
Don’t let the comparisons fool you: Harrison is his father’s son and a free agent, supremely confident as he embraces sounds across the universe. Overall, “In Parallel” is a sonic marvel and mystery that should reveal and reward over repeated listening.