Still going strong

The latest installment in Cotton Mather's 64-song, I Ching-inspired cycle is quite possibly the best. To my ear, each release has been stronger than the one that came before. The bar was already high; I can only imagine how good the final pieces will be.

Cotton Mather
Young Life EP
(Star Apple Kingdom)

The first track, "Mighty Girl", might be the best expression of Cotton Mather's ambitions I've ever heard. A very holy combination of Lou Reed, Elvis Costello and George Harrison, the song marries mannered pop construction with an intensity that bleeds out the seams.

Robert Harrison's ambition for this renewed Cotton Mather is massive, and so far the output has been staggering. This six-song set is a bit more contemplative than those that preceded it, in part due to the passing of longtime bassist George Reiff and also (according to Harrison) a tour of Russia. Whatever the reason, these songs often sound more Sister Lovers than Radio City.

The range and depth of these six songs feels almost infinite. As this project nears halfway (in terms of songs released, anyway), it sounds like Cotton Mather is channeling the I Ching rather than simply being inspired by it. In any case, these songs are an inspiration all their own.

Jon Worley

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