Press Reviews of Blood Songs

Paula writes: It's been a good few months for Nick appearing in the press, most of it due to a (mostly) very favourable response and coverage of the official release of Blood Songs. Okay, there's tons of Roy Harper mentions - we sense a Nick Harper drinking game coming on (drink when Roy and Nick get mentioned in the same sentence) - but it's great to see an album we love so much getting so many positive mentions in the natioal press. If you want to read my (admittedly less objective) review, you can find it here.

From the Times, 13 February 2004
Nick Harper, Blood Songs ****
by David Sinclair

Harper is the son of the folk-rocker Roy Harper, but don't let that put you off. Blood Songs is a witty, alert set of original numbers. Harper plays acoustic guitar with more attack than most people muster on an electric instrument, and sings such numbers as Love Junky and Love Is Music with an urgent, wiry grace.

From the Independent on Sunday, 15 February 2004
Nick Harper: The Son Also Rises
by Simmy Richman

We used to know where we stood when the sons of famous singers made records themselves. We knew Julian Lennon was less working-class hero and more spoilt son of superstar; and it was never as easy to get jiggy with Ziggy as it had been with old man Marley. But Jeff Buckley changed all that, and Rufus Wainwright continued the trend. Singer/poet Roy Harper is no one's idea of a musical superstar, and his son Nick is also unlikely to trouble the charts. But - when it's not trying too hard to be poppy - Harper Jr's fourth album is a sweet and gentle example of the craft of the singer-songwriter. File somewhere between Julian and Jeff, then.

From the Herald (Glasgow), 28 February 2004
Nick Harper, Blood Songs ****
by Rob Adams

Harpic's sixth visit to the recording studio finds him coming closest so far to capturing with a band the energy and sheer good-to-be-aliveness that have made his one man and a guitar concerts such devout places of worship for believers over the past decade. The blood in question is his family; the songs include dedications to his children and memories of his mother that in other hands might have sounded twee but emerge as heartfelt, tender and proud. Of course, he inherited his father, Roy's best musical genes and there are signs on Love Junky especially that he might have picked up some of Steve Miller's somewhere too. The word play, vocal soul and elasticity and the outrageous guitar dynamism are all his own, though. Bloody good.

From Mojo, March 2004
Nick Harper, Blood Songs ***
Fourth studio album, bursting with energy and fabulous production

by Colin Harper

Can one define Nick Harper's almost unique music without reference to his father, Roy? Frankly, no, because the only caveat to the man's unqualified singularity in the whole pantheon of rock is the fact that the one place you'll hear anything like Nick's sublime, intoxicating combination of mixed-metaphors, aural textures and freewheeling vocal gymnastics is on Roy's records. Or, rather, on an imaginary distillation of the very best of Roy's records, including those featuring Jimmy Page, with Nick fulfilling here, as ever, the roles of both dad and Jim and of the editor and producer they never had. Nick's music engages both mind and toes, fiendishly complex yet effortlessly hummable. Vampire Song follows The Darkness well into Tapsville but delivers a chorus of astonishing beauty in both spirit and melody, while Lily's Song is equal parts essence of Blackbird and Dear Prudence, yet not a plagiarised note in sight.

From Uncut, March 2004
Nick Harper, Blood Songs ***
Ambitious and imaginative song cycle from Roy Harper's son

by Mick Houghton

Sons of famous fathers invariably have the odds stacked against them. Nick Harper seems to have inherited all that's good from his dad: exemplary guitar playing, a heart-tugging vocal style and the ability to write emotive songs. There are wonderfully absorbing, effortless compositions like Lily's Song, Imaginary Friend and Blood Song, addressing bold, universal themes of family, love, life and death. Elsewhere, a capacity for excess also seems to have been handed down, as well as a tendency to show off, to display a vocal dexterity for the hell of it, and a Zappa-like instrumental cleverness that stems the flow of the material. Undeniably compelling - just not seductive enough throughout.

From Guitar (UK), April 2004
Nick Harper, Blood Songs
Album of the Month

Son of '70s poet/singer Roy Harper, dubbed 'the acoustic Hendrix' and the 'English Jeff Buckley', Nick Harper's fourth studio album rises above this (albeit favourable) baggage. He serves up funkadelic rap'n'folk on Love Junky, powerful addictive strumming on the ethereal groove of Love Is Music, and gothic sass on the title track - courtesy of some cascading electric lead work and staccato upstrokes. With this amount of melodic and sonic ingenuity, Nick Harper could be dubbed 'the new Beck' - but that would be a bigger compliment to Mr. Hansen than it would be to Harper.

From Q, April 2004
Nick Harper, Blood Songs ***
Inconsistent fourth album from son of 60s troubadour

by Ben Lerwill

The fruit of singer-songwriter Roy Harper's loins, Nick Harper's musical ability is more or less a given. Blood Songs is his most introspective work to date, one that confirms his enthusiasm and technical talent while never doing anything spectacular, despite some winsome moments and off-the-wall lyrics: "I'm a mutant monkey / Pre-programmed Mother Nature's flunky". Fitting somewhere between Jeff Buckley and a lighters-aloft Robbie Williams, and with several helpings of doodling guitar, its tendency towards over-embellishment is ultimately a bit hit-and-miss.

Updated 9 April 2004
© various/PLC 2004