A Review of Harlem’s “Hippies”
It is the perfect tale of when punchy met punk rock. They fell in love and lived happily ever after. Down the road, they gave birth to their first child. They called this child “Harlem.” And so it all began…
Harlem’s newest album, Hippies, released on April 6th, shows off this perfect blend of both edgy, raw, thumping garage funk and upbeat, catchy, rhythmic vibes. It is pleasing to the ear, as it is discrete enough to serve as background music, but definitely distinct enough to hold its own. The first song that starts off this musical escapade, titled, “Someday Soon,” brings you back in time to the psychedelic 1960s. Picture it. You are in a smokey underground club standing at the bar with Andy Warhol and a few of his prodigies, Edie Sedgwick and the Velvet Underground. It will kind of remind you of that. Promise.
The album shows off the wide range and variety that Harlem has to offer in their ability to provide their listeners with quite the musical experience. Yes, you can definitely hum along with several of the tracks as they are quite catchy, but you should be warned, many of the songs will work to bring out your inner screamo too. In the song “Stripper Sunset,” Harlem proclaims, “No, I don’t care what you think.” How true. They just go for it, singing and strumming their hearts out. And, particularly in this track, they do it quite well. While its overall sound does resemble that of punk, this Austin-based indie band surely experiments, takes risks and thinks outside the box. Exhibit A: The presence of the glockenspiel in some tracks on the album. Glockenspiel, you say? Yes, glockenspiel.
Harlem knows a thing or two about how to get their listeners to really reach that toe-tappin’ point (maybe even break out the air guitar), but they also understand just exactly how to spark up the inner-hippie in each and every one of us with that oh-so-rich blend of a lighter, acoustic sound. You can really tell though that at the end of the day, all Harlem is really trying to do, whether it be in a punky electric or hippie acoustic sort of way, is jam. In “Someday Soon,” Harlem sings, “Someday soon, you’ll be on fire.” Maybe that is the case, but Harlem’s already got that fire burning. Keep it up, Harlem. Keep that fire burning.
– Sarah Pacitti