It’s human nature to measure an offspring’s worth by comparing their efforts to the acknowledged achievements of their parents. Are James McCartney and Sean Lennon handicapped by consistent comparisons to Paul and John? Could Jakob Dylan have done better had he not been measured against Bob? How did Adam Cohen fare when he was matched up against Leonard?
In most cases, the kids didn’t have a chance. There are exceptions of course; Rufus and Martha Wainwright have gained critics’ respect, just as Teddy Thompson has managed to remain in good stead when pitted against parents Richard and Linda. Yet for Dhani Harrison, the challenge seems greater still. The son of the much-loved Beatle waited several years to make his solo bow, coaching his initial efforts in the guise of his group Thenewwho2. Now, with In///Parallel, the first album released under his own name, the true test will come as comparisons start to fly. Never mind if the music will be judged on its own merits. Most will want to know, does Dhani sound like dad?
That question can be answered rather quickly. Mostly, it’s a yes. Dhani’s vocals are eerily similar to his father’s, especially given the fact that these ten tunes are of the same meditative variety as “Within You Without You” and “Blue Jay Way.” Songs such as “Never Know,” #WarOnFalse” and “Downtown Tigers” are similarly low-lit cosmic creations, all sprawling, synthesized, rhythmic and replete with naval gazing and deeper meaning. Harrison himself does the programming, providing little opportunity for any significant shift in tone or treatment. The result becomes a series of celestial seances sans melody or merriment. Intriguing, but hardly essential.
Still, give Harrison credit for pursuing his muse, new age niche and all. Given his father’s penchant for independence and introspection, the young man deserves respect for following his own individual instincts.