Sunday Times (London)

May 17, 1998

Photograph Smile

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JULIAN LENNON: Photograph Smile
(Music From Another Room, MFAR 44CD, 15.99 )

THE immediate reaction to the first half of Photograph Smile is that you wish Julian would stop sounding so much like his father. Even granted the fact that, with that voice, Julian is always going to bring back memories of John, the first few songs are an extraordinarily faithful series of snapshots of Lennon Senior's albums: Day After Day is Double Fantasy era; the verses of Cold could have come from Walls and Bridges, the chorus from Mind Games. And so it goes on: I Don't Wanna Know (Revolver); Crucified (Beatles for Sale). Then, halfway through the album (ironically, as he's singing "We'd never break away, never let go"), you get your wish: Julian starts singing songs that are more than parental pastiche. But, as John once said: "You don't know what you got, until you lose it." Julian's songs are okay, but they're not as good as his neo-John songs. Still, given how many other artists make a career out of the Beatles template, there's no reason why Julian shouldn't: and, with that thought in mind, Photograph Smile isn't half bad. ME