Art & Design
Posted by LS
08. Jul, 2011
Harmony make an empty room sound like a church with “Cacophonous Vibes”, the first single from their self-titled debut album.
With the sort of slow-down Stax that hard-waltzes on your heart-strings, this song will gut you if you let it. Actually, it’s a little surprising how well it works.
Aussie-drawl spoken-word breakdowns over gospel backing, alongside harmonising female backup vocalists—it’s a potentially well-greased tightrope of taste. Mahalia Jackson could so easily become Mahalia Barnes when tackling a song in this way. But here Harmony show no hint of insincerity. They’re not singing something that doesn’t belong to them.
The backup singers are up loud with ahhhs and bop shoo wops reminiscent of “Songs of Love and Hate” era Leonard Cohen, specifically “Diamonds in the Mine” (with its similarly aggressive lead vocal). Though where Cohen’s song is a sarcastic reggae number, this one is heartfelt and lies somewhere between the simple rawness of gospel and the aggressive dynamic driving of garage rock.
It’s the production of the recording itself, with the singer’s rupturing throat, the slamming cymbals, bottom of the well snare, steely guitar stabs and beds of distortion, these things make the song magnetic and mercurial. You can hear the emptiness of the room, the impromptu energy of a rehearsal, the pain of a fresh feeling. It’s got vibe up to wazoo. Listen to it.
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