Second-generation musical performers are almost always faced with a damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don’t situation. Those who try to re-create parental sonics are lambasted for opportunism; those who stray too far are often censured for ignoring family tradition. Low Millions front man Adam Cohen — son of enduring cult hero Leonard Cohen — bridges those two approaches in his own music and emerges surprisingly unscathed.
At this low-key Gotham gig, he demonstrated that a deep appreciation for sensuality, among other things, is clearly hereditary. He also, however, staked out his own stylistic territory, imbued more with West Coast power-pop than with doleful folk.
Concentrating entirely on material drawn from their recently released Manhattan debut “Ex-Girlfriends,” Cohen and guitarist Michael Chaves — touring without their usual full band — gave a virtual clinic on the pop hook.
From the easygoing lilt of the set-opening “Mockingbird” to the dogged tartness of the see-saw rocker “Statues,” the duo traded off riffs with the precision of a Gold Glove winning double-play combo.
Cohen is able to coax his fluid voice into a serviceable falsetto, as he demonstrated on the single “Eleanor,” but he’s clearly more comfortable in his lower register. That portion of his range was put to best use on “100 Blouses,” a song that — in the manner of Cohen pater — employs a narrator who’s surprisingly convincing in assuring the listener that prodigious amounts of good sex can’t overcome romantic yearning.
Cohen doesn’t cover all that much territory as a songwriter. In fact, the band’s entire perf consisted of odes to old flames that were extinguished for various reasons. He and Chaves overcame that limitation, however, by weaving melodies that illuminated those snapshots in hues ranging from misty sepia to vivid Day-Glo, making for a listening experience that was anything but one-dimensional.