Picks and Pans Review: Somewhere in England

updated 07/27/1981 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/27/1981 AT 01:00 AM EDT

George Harrison

Harrison's first album since 1979 is one of his finest, featuring his moving tribute to Lennon, All Those Years Ago. Harrison's signatures—crystal-clear production, buoyant backup and George's chimelike guitar runs—are all here. Blood From a Clone, for instance, is quirky and irresistible, with deft rhythm and chord shifts. Unconsciousness Rules is an uncharacteristically hard rocker that seems to inveigh against the New Wave scene: "You're back in your cage/Ego'd out on stage." Even Harrison's heavy holy rockers are informed with an effervescent pop sound here. On That Which I Have Lost, the finest cut, Harrison fills in with some deliciously strident, countryish guitar runs. The light tone of most of the music contrasts with the lyrics' message; thoughts of eternity haunt even the jauntiest of these tunes. Life Itself is a moving, warming ballad ("You are the light in death itself"), In Writing's on the Wall, Harrison writes that "death holds on to us much more with every passing hour." This record is both entertainment and a musical giant's defiant tribute to the value of life.

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