Roy Harper - Roy Harper Man And Myth

Long may he Harper on

Cheeringly, you can always rely
upon Roy Harper to buck any
trend. Thirteen long years on
from the release of his previous
album The Green Man, and at
the not-inconsiderable age of
72, Harper clearly isn’t
subscribing to the notion that
the passage of time steals
musicians’ gifts and buries
them alongside their mojo.
Let’s be unequivocal: Man And
Myth would still represent
a dauntless throwdown for any
young stag basking in the sunlit
fecundity of his prime, but for
a septuagenarian who’s
already been around every
block on the map several
times over, it borders upon
the supernatural.

It’s not just the strength of
Harper’s hand on the tiller that
impresses and confounds.
While his guitar-playing
remains robust and his vocal
range undiminished, it’s the
characteristically immersed,
impassioned songwriting that
most vividly illustrates his
ongoing vigour. Harper’s
unquenchable gusher of vitriol
sprays withering disdain all over
Cloud Cuckooland, a damning
treatise on “corporate and
celebrity culture” with a stinging
guitar cameo from Pete
Townshend, while momentary
infatuation meets existential
befuddlement on the
mellifluous balladry of January
Man and Time Is Temporary.
Better yet, the concluding
23-minute suite – Heaven Is
Here/The Exile – weaves Greek
mythical resonances into the
seductive body of its layered
narrative. Still got it, Roy.

5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars

Bella Union | BELLACD 421 (CD / LP)

Reviewed by Oregano Rathbone
<< Back to Issue 419

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