Division Street

Division Street

With the footprints of producer Tom Rothrock (Elliott Smith) making impressions as deep as those of the artist—Harper Simon, son of Paul and Peggy—Division Street is an album that pushes and pulls its songs with far more tension than Simon's relatively subdued self-titled debut. The backup band features Strokes bassist Nikolai Fraiture and Elvis Costello's longtime Attractions drummer Pete Thomas (one of the industry's finest), along with members of Bright Eyes and Wilco. Yet anyone expecting this to be a typically sensitive singer/songwriter album backed by a pleasant, competent group will have that idea blown out the speakers, as tunes like "Veteran's Parade," "Bonnie Brae," and "Dixie Cleopatra"—in full hyper-manic form—make clear that the younger Simon is interested in creating far more noise and aggression than dear ol' dad. However, his knack for melody is strong; tunes like "Chinese Jade" and "Just Like St. Teresa" deliver on the family name.

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