"Friendly Fire is an experiment to see what it might be like to do music more publicly again."
—-Sean Lennon


John’s Son Returns With Friendly Fire, First New Album in Eight Years
The prodigal son returns.

Friendly Fire, the sophomore solo album from Sean Lennon, will be released by Capitol Records on Sept. 26.

The first new Lennon effort since 1998’s acclaimed solo bow, Into the Sun, Friendly Fire is being described as “a cinematic suite of songs which share the same dizzying wealth of musical styles as its predecessor, but eschews some of its freeform tendencies for more traditional song structure and some unifying themes.” Hell, sounds like a rock critic wrote that.

Sean’s collaborators over the past eight years range from his mother, Yoko Ono, to Money Mark, Deltron 3030, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Vincent Gallo, Thurston Moore, John Zorn, Ryan Adams, The Boredoms and Ben Lee, among others.

“There was a long period after the first album where I felt disillusioned with the machinery of the industry,” says Lennon. “It’s not that I stopped recording, playing and performing, I did all of those things, just more discreetly. Friendly Fire is an experiment to see what it might be like to do music more publicly again.”

Produced by Lennon, the Friendly Fire sessions really got underway when he asked producer/engineer Tom Biller (among other thingsm Jon Brion’s trusted mixer for his recordings with Fiona Apple and Kanye West, as well as the scores for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and I (Heart) Huckabees) and drummer Matt Chamberlain (Pearl Jam, Tori Amos) into the studio for two weeks of collaboration.

Other participants included Jon Brion (organ, guitar, additional drums), Cibo Matto’s Yuka Honda (piano, keyboards, bass), Harper Simon (guitar) and Bijou Phillips (background vocals), among others.

Album opener “Dead Meat” is sweet and lush but warns, in Lennonesque fashion: “In the end you’re gonna learn/All you get is what you deserve.” Similarly, the dark romanticism of the gentle, melodic “Parachute” intones “If I have to die tonight/I’d rather be with you.”

Other tracks include the smoky, endearingly spooky “Tomorrow,” the vocal harmonies of “Headlights,” a psychedelic reworking of Marc Bolan’s “Would I Be the One” and the forlorn and orchestral “Falling Out of Love.”

Lennon has also produced a short film for each of the album’s tracks, directed by Michele Civetta. The fantastical shorts, which together comprise a conceptual film about betrayal and the failure of love, feature appearances from Lennon and friends including Lindsay Lohan, Bijou Phillips, Asia Argento, Carrie Fisher, Devon Aoki, Jordana Brewster and others.

Lennon says, “Music is invisible. I spend a lot of time in the studio with my eyes closed. This, thankfully, was not the case with the film.”

The trailer for the film can be streamed here.