Cards on the table straight away. Adam Cohen is the son of Leonard Cohen. Might not be fair to instantly tar him with this association but Adam seems happy to remind folk of it throughout the album with allusions to Hallelujah and First We Take Manhattan in his lyrics and what appears to be a picture of an infant Adam with dad on the rear cover. So primed, the listener is on the lookout for similarities and there are moments here and there when Adam does recall Leonard vocally but more so in mannerism and delivery. Unlike fellow travellers, Rufus and Martha Wainright and Teddy Thompson, Cohen junior was in his late thirties before he made a mark on the world. His early recordings were unheralded and a serious crash derailed him for a while before he left music aside for several years. 2011’s Like A Man however saw him accept and embrace his paternal lineage and was well received. We Go Home is much in the same vein, and casting all thoughts of the father aside for a moment it stands up well on its own two feet but ultimately there’s no denying that Adam is following in Leonard’s footsteps.
The songs are for the most part simply arranged, acoustic guitar or piano with minimal rhythm section, a female chorus and occasional strings. The more successful songs are those delivered with the minimum of melodrama, Cohen seems to like dynamic changes in melody and mood and this leads to a song like Love Is where he comes across like a tasered Neil Diamond. Fortunately this is a one off and he manages to curtail the drama of What Kind Of Woman to an acceptable level although he ends up sounding like dad circa New Skin For The Old Ceremony.
As we said his simpler melodies are the best and the opening Song Of You And Me is a warm and affectionate paean to love while Too Real is a very fine love song that hovers between Dobro flavoured country funk and string adorned confessional. We Go Home is an up tempo sing-along number with scrubbed guitar and catchy chorus that perks up the album before Put Your Bags Down weighs in, one of the more portentous numbers here and begging to be considered as an offloading of emotional baggage. So Much To Learn is sprightlier, an attractive and simple acceptance of his heritage and so much the better for it while Fall Apart directly addresses the father-son relationship Cohen has experienced and here he offers a finely tuned summary of his life in an attractive setting with a fine degree of acceptance on a song that would sound fine on a Bill Callahan album, quite lovely. Cohen signs off with the short and simple Boats, a string fuelled miniature that throws up the notion that this album could more accurately have been titled A Voyage Round My Father.