Those who follow this blog will have noticed that I have written on releases on the Glaswegian label 319 Records. When the label owner tweeted about a new EP I mistakenly assumed that he released it. He pointed me to my error and to Gordon Harrow.
His second EP Indian Giver was released earlier this year and follows his debut EP 'Dream Girl' from 2016. At first listen I was attracted to the music of Gordon Harrow. Somehow it provides the element that is missing in The New Pornographers' latest album, 'Whiteout Conditions': the fun of playing. The fun oozes from every note on Indian Giver.
Harrow comes from Glasgow and has been playing there for some years before he started to release his work. 'Dream Girl' was produced by no one else than Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, Big Star mach II).
Indian Giver holds loads of powerpop. It is loud, exuberant, full of interesting melodies and sung with a strong voice. Yes, the kind of music The Posies were great at circa 15 years ago and The New Pornographers are now. Gordon Harrow shows that he is a rock in sound as well. Do not expect to much subtlety in his approach of his music. Songs seem to be there to attack, fiercely. That could be disastrous, where my musical tastes are concerned. It isn't on Indian Giver, simply because the melody is always there. Melodies are the leading element in his music.
The Beatles and The Kinks are at the basis what is going on here. From there we move to The Jam and U.S. post-punk bands like Blondie, The Knack and The Romantics, then Oasis and The Posies come into view. All this is thrown into Harrow's blender and out comes Indian Giver.
What makes the music irresistible though is the fun combined with the energy Gordon Harrow obviously puts into his music. In search of the perfect powerpop song he seems to have found the well he can dip his songwriting skills in. Knowing how to build some tension into songs, dynamics are used in the right places as are the harmonies. e.g. the 'Make Me Smile' style ooh la la las. They add a great pop feel to 'Mercury'. It's all simply just there. Perfection graces these songs and I can't seem to get enough of them.
A first listen to 'Dream Girl' shows that those expecting a second version of the debut EP might have been in for a bit of a shock. There's quite some difference actually. The common denominator is that both EPs show that Gordon Harrow is a real talent, a pop songsmith who ought to be going places. (Since I've been told that Indian Giver is a whole year older than 'Dream Girl', only to be released a year later. It makes me wonder what to expect in 2018?)
If not for Thomas Miller's tweet I may never have heard of Gordon Harrow. Right now my life is enriched with four (actually eight) great songs. Thank you, Thomas and thank you, Gordon. I hope to hear more soon. Can't wait, if I'm honest.
You can find Indian Giver here: