Until now, Dhani Harrison has mostly worked below the radar composing numerous soundtracks for cinema and TV seemingly being in no great rush to step into the spotlight. Now fast approaching 40, it appears that he's finally ready to raise his profile.
His debut solo release deals with topics that would once have been labelled as dystopian science fiction. The speed of life means that the issues he comments on are now an everyday reality for most people. In this context, "It's not like it used to be" (a line from the ELO-like All About Waiting) is the understatement of the decade.
The songs document a world where natural and man-made disasters are commonplace and in which the 24 hour connected culture has led to a social network driven paranoia generated by FOMO (the fear of missing out).
Having spent many years living in Los Angeles, Harrison has been well placed to view the accelerated culture first hand. This is reflected in #WarOnFalse ,written two years before the ubiquitous obsession with fake news, and Poseidon (Keep Me Safe), his response to witnessing some scary missile tests over the city.
The latter is one of two tracks to feature Australian born, LA based singer Mereki; she can also be heard on the rock orientated London Water.
Of course, the question most listeners will ask is : How George-like does Dhani sound?, not least because lookswise he's the spitting image of his dad. Not so much, is the honest answer largely because studio trickery tends to give his vocals a distorted, anonymous quality. At times he almost sounds like a cross between Marilyn Manson and Beck.
The use of airy Middle Eastern strings, notably on the opening track (Never Know), may draw comparisons with The Beatles' 'Within You Without You' but otherwise it's better to acknowledge that Dhani inhabits a very different musical and social world to that of his father.
Despite this, his advocacy of meditation and the need to stay aloof from the excesses of modern society are principles George would surely have endorsed.
While the dense arrangements are impressive and sophisticated, my main criticism of the album would be that most songs have an overly cold, dispassionate quality. Paradoxically, this is itself a reflection of the alienated society which the record is so much a product of.
The songs do however show that Harrison has a greater awareness than most on the problems that befall us. He says that the record in part advocates "self-care and self-compassion" as an antidote to the dehumanizing lifestyle it's so easy to get sucked into.
It's recommended because we need all the help we can get.
Dhani Harrison's website