Review: Keep It Simple
With no less than three Van Morrison compilations last year, Van fans took stock of his frustratingly inconsistent catalog, one that's embraced both riveting melodies and inconsequential meanderings. Arriving on their heels, Keep It Simple faces inevitable, if unintentional, comparisons to the best of that brood, but happily, faces surprisingly well. It retraces familiar terrain, indulging Morrison's penchant for blues, R&B and country, while its highlights --t he gospel-inflected "School of Hard Knocks," the soulful sway of "That's Entrainment," "No Thing" and "Lover Come Back" and the rustic ballad "Song of Home" -- echo earlier triumphs, specifically the double wallop Moondance and Tupelo Honey. Despite some missteps -- the uninspired blues of "How Can a Poor Boy" and "Don't Go to Nightclubs Anymore," and an otherwise insightful "Behind the Ritual" that finds Morrison literally mumbling "blah blah blah" -- Keep It Simple is mostly hurrah hurrah hurrah.