How does it feel to be two of the Beautiful People? Pretty good according to Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. This second album under the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger name is the best thing that Sean Lennon has done – and he hasn’t ever really made bad music, he just lives with the curse of being John Lennon’s son. Leaving behind his name and solo artist-guise, Lennon Jr has slipped in and out of several interesting projects in recent years (Cibo Matto for instance). And here with his girlfriend and long-term musical partner (don’t groan, it’s not due to any genetic futility) he’s made an extraordinary slice of psychedelic-tinged pop music.
Just as Tame Impala borrowed (heavily) from The Beatles, Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger borrows (back) from Tame Impala. Were Lennon as trite and pretentious as Bono he might even mug it up with a “Tame Impala stole [this] from The Beatles – we’re stealin’ it back!” But you won’t find anything pretentious about this record – huge, strong, surging pop hooks, great bass playing from Charlotte Kemp Muhl and just simple, great songs from Lennon. His singing is great, hers is fine – and yes, just as McCartney and Sean’s dad had their women involved as guiding lights, as spirit-animal, as muse, that might appear to be the case here.
You could try your best to mark this down, say that they’ve had it easy – that they’re part of the In Crowd, that anyone hanging around them is desperate to hope to wish to want to be part of an In Crowd, but all you have to do is listen to Midnight Sun. It’s immaculate but never suffers from polish, in fact there’s a wonderful grit to the riffs, a huge – loud – clatter to the drums, the Flaming Lips-influenced brand of psychedelia but here with no focus on the gimmick, just all about the song.
It’s a wonderful record – another great record from Sean Lennon. His best. But for some that might only ever mean he’s aping his father. Why, when so many people have tried to make careers doing exactly that, must we hold it against arguably the one person with a right to that, the surviving progeny – still doing it his own way too, making his own way, creating great music. We’re unfair on Sean Lennon. But you get the feeling that with this album all that nonsense, all that bullshit, has to stop. He’s done what someone in his shoes could usually only ever hope to wish to want to do – silence those annoying fucking critics.