Written by volunteer contributor Bryon Dudley.
Listen while you read:
Har-di-Har are a ridiculously talented couple (Julie and Andrew Thoreen) who make really solid, adventurous records. Their music is hard to describe, and I often wonder what they would say if asked what kind of music they make – “Cinematic orchestral indie-pop with choral vocals and great beats”? Suffice it to say that they are gifted arrangers who aren’t afraid to throw a few surprises into their songs, after lulling you into a dream-like state with their lushness.
Hard Parent/Thick Child is 6 tracks of dense textural songwork that never loses sight of melody, although the melodies on this collection are more complex than what the couple has previously released (that’s a good thing).
“Through Trees (Part 1)” begins the EP with ethereal female vocals (Julie Thoreen has been compared to Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins, and for good reason) and some nice Rhodes piano, drops in some rather nice vocal harmonies, and, after being lulled into a sense of dreaminess, about 2/3 of the way into the song everything blows up and disintegrates into a stew of delays and atonal chaos.
It’s a good microcosm of the record, really, exercises in tension and release.
Other standout tracks are “Once Branches,” which has cinematic swells underlining chanting vocals and a breakbeat that could’ve been on one of the recent Radiohead albums, and “More Over Forward,” an instrumental affair that’s part post-rock, part Brazilian art film soundtrack, and completely drenched in melody, for over 6 minutes.
Har-di-Har make sophisticated music that manages to sound organic and never forced. It’d be nice to see them tackle a full-length album soon, or maybe score a film. They’d be equally great at both.
Hard Parent/Thick Child is available at http://har-di-har.bandcamp.com/
Song: Once Branches https://soundcloud.com/har-di-har/once-branches
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