Van Morrison is back. In his first album since 2005, Morrison shines with a bluesy, soulful collection of songs which make up the short, but sweet, “Keep it Simple.” Far from simple, however, the album is chalked full of beautiful instrumentation, a wide array of musical influences from the classic blues that has always inspired Morrison’s music, to Celtic and folk melodies.

This is one of those rare albums that can be listened to from start to finish without missing a beat. Van Morrison is at his best in each track. It’s a generally mellow album, but even at its mellowest there is a certain energy that is purely Morrison.

Certainly there have been bigger, more robust recordings from Van Morrison in the past, but something about the simplicity of “Keep it Simple” is comfortingly reminiscent of classic Morrison. Song of Home is one of the best tracks on the album–a mournful, soulful ballad with deep folk roots. School of Hard Knocks and How Can a Poor Boy both move at a faster pace than most of the album, and are very reminiscent of Morrison’s signature blues-pop sound.

Finishing off the album is arguably the best track, Behind the Ritual, which also happens to be the longest and richest song in the collection, with its moody, lovely instrumentation and lyrics. It’s nice to see such a complete offering from one of rock and roll’s classic artists. Rather than living off of “best of” albums and the comfort of classics, Morrison has chosen to write new songs that are every bit as good as the hits that made him famous in the first place.

“Keep it Simple” can be purchased at Amazon.

Check out his official website here.

For politics, reviews, and other writing from E.D. Kain visit his homepage here.

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