Sean Lennon Delivers Near-Perfect Album

First things first: Julian didn't turn out to be the genius in the

family. And Sean Lennon is nothing like his brother, so pay

attention.

Sean understandably loathes comparisons to his father, John, but

a

comparison is obligatory, and in this case, a compliment, because

he got

-- and makes something entirely his own out of -- the family

musical

jewels. Into the Sun is characterized by a recognizably

Lennonist

combination of brashness and shyness, crowned with a sparkling

intelligence.

"Mystery Juice" is an entrancing mix of acoustic guitar and synth

music,

culminating in a great, Roger Waters-style, strangulated cry. It is

lovely and strong. Then there is the sultry bossa nova of the title

track, "Into the Sun," a duet with girlfriend Yuka (no smartass

remarks,

please) Honda (who co-leads Cibo Matto), who beguilingly sings

along. And unlike other Beatles- related

duets, this collaboration works: these guys' voices

sound married to each other.

"Home" is pop rock with swell harmonies, while the self-

explanatory

"Bathtub" is a moody, complex song that drifts gently; it's as

relaxing

as, well, a nice warm bath.

"One Night" is an acoustic tune that resembles what you-know-

who's "Real

Life" would sound like without any nosy Beatles on it. In other

words,

perfect.

"Spaceship," reprising the trippy "into the sun" trope, is what Syd

Barrett would sound like if he'd been healthy and well-adjusted,

and

still fronting a mellow, interstellar Pink Floyd ... which couldn't be

more different than "Photosynthesis," a straight-no-chaser,

instrumental

jazz number performed live -- not filler, and very absorbing.

Brian Wilson's influence permeates "Queue," which features

vocals

arranged by Andrew (nee Loog) Oldham of Rolling Stones infamy

and is a

fine, '60s-ish pop pastiche. Seventies homage is paid -- to Stevie

Wonder -- on the keyboard funk and plink of "Two Fine Lovers,"

while

"Part One of the Cowboy Trilogy" is "Bungalow Bill"-style, country

cockadoodle with silly, infinitely wry lyrics.

"Wasted" takes you to the piano bar after hours; in Chet Baker

mode, it

features the mysterious lament, "All but a waste, it's all but a waste

to be in love..."

"Breeze" is bedsit introspection, while "Sean's Theme" ends things

grandly with a wistful, deeply textured jazz passage.

As you can see, the music is all over the place, but every note

works.

Yuka sings along and produces, and is an integral part of the

proceedings.

In every kind of music he attempts, Sean Lennon achieves a

sweet

peacefulness his father may never have known, and this makes

Into the Sun a fulfillment. Sean and Yuka are a dream

team. I had

to pinch myself to make sure this album was for real.

It is.