Sean Lennon Friendly Fire

Give Sean Lennon the benefit of the doubt and he’ll turn around and write a contemporary pop record genetically traceable to one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. With the ambition of his late father John, Lennon has composed Friendly Fire as both an aural and visual experience. "Dead Meat” maintains the kind of whiny quality Lennon has come to be known for, while "Parachute” charts familiar territory. There are definite Beatles references here, with sweeping string sections and pianos that claim these songs for orchestral pop categorisation. An accompanying abstract film (featuring cameos by Lindsay Lohan and Bijou Phillips) connects music videos by a loose narrative thread and some, including "Headlights” and "Wait for Me,” which appear like new-fangled clips from Magical Mystery Tour and, on "Would I Be the One,” Yellow Submarine. Things get particularly confusing, however, when Lennon’s songs begin to resemble those of artists who readily admit their fondness for the Beatles. If "Spectacle” sounds like something Jay Ferguson might have written — does that suggest that Sean Lennon is influenced by his father or Sloan? And what of "Tomorrow” and "Falling Out of Love,” a pair of Rufus Wainwright-esque ballads? Is there some creative connection shared between the offspring of famous, accomplished musicians? While these things seem uncertain, it’s clear from Friendly Fire that Sean Lennon has some grand aspirations of his own. (Capitol)