Click here for home page

Click here

Contact Us | Customer Information | Privacy Policy | Audio Help

Main Menu
Submit a review
Album Reviews
Book Reviews
DVD Reviews
Sign up for newsletter
Gig reviews
Get Your EMail Address
Submit your website
HARLAN FLO Strategy Fuzz Junker Records (2012)

Harlan Flo

Harlan Flo are that are that rare species, an apparent fiercely independent band (not to be confused with indie) who explore their own unique 'voice' that marks them out as more than merely interesting and certainly different from their peers. 'Strategy' is an album full of well crafted, beautifully delivered songs that make the most of thoughtful arrangements and a crisp production.

The 8 track album gradually unravels its inner core via subtle harmony led vocals that wash over tightly wrapped rhythms to colour the songs with funk, blues, country and MOR rock influences. It's an understated style that is given coherence by Patrick Dugan's warm vocals which evoke early career America ('Horse With No Name'). He's joined on the opening 'Land of the Gardens' by the versatile Amanda Riva who cleverly slips between back up singing and full blown duets. 'Strategy' taks us on a mellifluous journey of well crafted, harmony led music that unlike so much contemporary rock beguiles you with its charm rather than bludgeons you over the head with telegraphed hooks.

'In many respects 'Strategy' is a mood album full of feel and the kind of insistent rhythms that stick in the memory. Amanda impressively takes the lead vocal on the up tempo riff led and snappy arrangement of 'Stumble Quick & Run'. There's also some clever contrasting, alternating verses featuring Patrick's husky vocals and Amanda's higher register phrasing on a beautifully conceived track with noir lyrics. It's a quirky rhythmic style full of dynamics and a ripping rhythm section that they return to on the equally impressive 'Black Bridges and Bones'. 'Bones' features a snaking lead guitar line, a staccato rhythm track and a clever rhythmic stuttered vocal, delivered in unison with the accompanying guitar line.

'Strategy' is an organic sounding album that presumably mirrors the band's live performance in a studio setting. The production is understated and the result is a live feel that places the songs and vocals at the very centre of the mix. The title track for example, bubbles and broods in a way that suggest the band could explode at any moment but they content themselves with sticking to the vocal led duet. On 'Bittersweet' they veer into James Taylor meets country territory, while the 70's style country rock love song 'Sleepless Night' could have been written by Poco.

Harlan Lo's strength lies in their ability to follow where their grooves and their lyrics take them. 'Bordertown' for example, is an understated groove that builds by degrees with accented harmony vocals and an uplifting feel courtesy of Patrick's two solos that are as short and succinct as they are effective. Older rock fans might remember String Driven Thing with their duet vocals and dynamic rocking grooves, albeit with a violin. Harlan Flo have the same drive, energy, spontaneity and lyrics to match and 'Strategy' is a successful meeting of contemporary and retro influences that find their shape in well crafted songs.

The album finishes with the slightly heavier slide led duet 'Shoot the Stars'. It's full of handclaps and plenty of space as drummer Aaron Apte adds a clever quiet/loud percussive bottom, while his closing old fashioned drum roll screams,' that's your lot finished and done'.

You should check out this album if only to refresh the jaded palate with eight bright, breezy and eloquently delivered songs from a band that actually sounds like they really are enjoying themselves.


Review by Pete Feenstra


Print this page in printer friendly format

Print this page in printer-friendly format

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

get ready to rock is a division of hotdigitsnewmedia group

Featured Artists
Artist Archive
Featured Labels
Label Archive
Do you want to appear here?