John Wesley Harding Adam's Apple

One of England’s most popular songwriters, John Wesley Harding, returns to the spotlight with the sugary sweet mainstream pop effort, Adam’s Apple. Over the years the prolific cult star has gained a reputation as a "musician’s musician,” gaining admiration from the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello’s backing band, the Attractions, the latter of whom backed Harding up on his 1990 debut, Here Comes The Groom. It’s not a far stretch then to suggest that on his new album, Harding’s vocals bear a striking resemblance to Costello himself, especially on ballads such as "Sleeper Awake” and "Sussex Ghost Story” where the similarity to Elvis is almost eerie. Even lyrically, Harding’s subject matter on a song like the showbiz satire, "Monkey And His Cat” contains a similar nudge-nudge, wink-wink cleverness that Costello can normally pull off so effortlessly. This is not to suggest that Harding’s ventures into literate, endearing pop songwriting are particularly laboured; there are few artists who can combine such witty lyrics with such catchy arrangements. Still, Harding might wish to distinguish himself as a vocalist by shaking some of his more Declan MacManus-like musical mannerisms on future recordings. (DRT)