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Review: Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, Acoustic Sessions

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger
Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger: Acoustic Sessions
[Chimera Music (2010)]

With wit and charm, The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger, a.k.a. Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl, delivers a refreshing debut release. Why not look back more than 40 years to a time in music when close harmonies prevailed and flower power reigned? And why not update things by adding some clever poetry that brings everything full circle to the current century? The texture of this CD can best be summed up as a subtle meeting of “59th Street Bridge Song” and “Those Were The Days,” enhanced by killer lyrics like “Wake me in a thousand years/when computers can shed tears.” By virtue of their titles alone, “Lavender Road” and “Jardin du Luxembourg” refer back to that other time. And musically, they fulfill that promise. Throw in the sweet “Robot Boy,” made of “aluminum and paper clips, refrigerator parts and microchips” and you are partying in two different eras.

Unfortunately Lennon and Muhl’s ultra symbiotic vocal blend is somewhat self-defeating. The sameness throughout limits, to a certain degree, a sure appreciation of their true songwriting talent on the nine entries. Yet the duo makes up for it by using instruments in magical ways. The banjo at the end of “Dark Matter” emerges unexpectedly and beautifully, while the Harrison-esque guitar that snakes through “Rainbows In Gasoline” is beyond perfect. [www.chimeramusic.com]

—Ellen Geisel (Ballston Lake, NY)

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