Cotton Mather — ‘My Before and After’

It’s galling, isn’t it? You’re a musician who makes Beatles-esque guitar pop, had previously released an album of Beatles covers and worked on a book about one of the Beatles. Then some mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging troglodyte of a reviewer goes and compares your new album favourably to, of all bands, the Beatles.

Yes, I was that reviewer.

I won’t name the musician, and anyway he isn’t remotely well-known or successful. Following the review, I got a brief effluence of indignant messages from him, most of them seemingly written while under the influence of alcohol or illiteracy.

The lesson there is: Never compare someone’s album to the best band ever.

But have I learned that lesson? No sirree, because I’m about to re-offend!

Cotton Mather are a band from Austin, Texas. Their lead singer’s surname is Harrison and he sounds like Lennon. Plus, they have a brilliant song called ‘My Before and After’ which shares the snarling lead guitar style of ‘She Said She Said’ and the pounding piano chords of post-Fab hits like ‘Instant Karma’.

Ergo, I’ll rashly suggest that ‘My Before and After’ is influenced by the Beatles. So sue me, Cotton Mather!

I remember hearing this track on the radio in early 1999, perhaps only a couple of times, but it stuck itself violently into my brain for future reference. If you’ve ever got a mix CD for me then you’ll have heard it and loved it.

There’s an Irish connection here. Harrison wrote ‘My Before and After’ and all of its parent album, Kontiki, while living briefly in Dun Laoghaire, south of Dublin.

Sadly, nothing else on Kontiki comes close to the brilliance of this track — but no matter; one great song is one more than most bands ever manage.

The great lost Beatles track? You decide — here’s Cotton Mather’s ‘My Before and After’, the best thing to come out of Dun Laoghaire since Teddy’s 99s:

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