It’s hard not to view this collaborative album from the extended Thompson family through the eyes of the cod psychologist, given it how tortuous their family dynamic has been – Richard and Linda Thompson chronicled their disintegrating marriage on Shoot Out the Lights in 1982. The idea came from their son Teddy, who opens the album with the title track, which meditates on being the child of famous parents, stuck “betwixt and between/ Sean Lennon, you know what I mean”. His sister Kami contributes a lovely, Teenage Fanclubesque folk rocker, Careful, but the heart of the album lies in the parents’ songs. Linda’s Bonny Boy, a beautiful acoustic ballad, sees her offering advice on love to her son, with the mixture of wisdom and inappropriateness that only elderly parents can carry off, while Richard’s One Life at a Time might be political, but seems just as likely to plumb a deep well of misanthropy: “If you’re busy living your life/ You won’t be living mine.” Goodness knows you wouldn’t want to share a group therapy session with them, but it makes for a musically fabulous and lyrically compelling album.
Thompson: Family review – a tender exploration of family dynamics
Michael Hann is a freelance writer, and former music editor of the Guardian