London Camden Falcon
They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They never mean to but they do. Need proof? Try Sean Lennon; his dad was the voice of a generation, his mum the same generation’s totemic hate figure and now he’s maladjusted enough to believe that, having felt the Midas touch of genius sitting on his parents’ laps, a pop career is his birthright.
Then again, that job at Halfords was never going to be an option, was it? So you join us at the bunfight at the OK Corral: the paparazzi battle over photo passes, TV crews jostle for position, scribblers scribble and slack-jawed gawkers dribble and hope that if they squint their eyes enough they might see a major talent rather than the fragile, but oddly familiar-looking SoHo boho living out his Beach Boys fantasies.
This is a freak show masquerading as a musical event – even his backing band look weird – but while Sean Lennon would be a blithering idiot not to realise this, he is, as one might expect of a child of such breeding stock, a consummate professional. He plods along blithely with his little phalanx of strummers and twiddlers (largely New York food-fans Cibo Matto, whose singing-keyboard player Yuka Honda is also his special lady friend) playing sunny slacker-pop like the Astrud Gilberto swish of ‘Into The Sun’ with a wry smile, as people mumble about him being the spit of his father.
Somewhere beneath Lennon’s studiously casual deportment and the band’s clumpy cocktail jazz, however, lurks the alarming conceit of a young man brought up to think he was something special. With lyrics as artlessly frank as they are ponderously trite, there are moments, like the monumentally whiny ‘Mystery Juice’, where he seemingly believes that any half-conceived High Llamas pastiche he lazily plucks from the ether is a work of instinctive brilliance.
However, perhaps the most aggravating thing about this uneasy collusion of photo-opportunity and pop showcase is that Sean Lennon is really not consistently that awful. Gratifying as it would have been for unreconstructed Beatle-baiters to see Lennon junior’s pointless little career nosedive into the parquet floor of the tiny Falcon with a sickly crunch, his musical ambitions are so modest and his songs so disarmingly innocuous that it’s hard to really hate him. Problem is, it’s such wishy-washy fluff that it’s equally difficult to feel anything other than indifference in his favour.
Sorry about his dad and that, but ultimately not that sorry.