One of the most rewarding things about running this website over the last few years has been the fact that it has given me the opportunity to watch bands and artists go from nowhere to everywhere. I’ve been fortunate enough to review artists just as they are starting out and follow their journey to some of the biggest stages in this country and beyond. One such artist is Harriet!
Harriet! First came to my attention back in 2015 as a solo artist when i reviewed her brilliant debut the Hidden Messaages EP. Since then the 22 year old from Derby has seen her fledgling music career go from strength to strength. Last year she linked up with STM Music Management in a move which also saw its director Neil Wardleworth join the party and make Harriet! a duo.
What I currently have in my hot little hands in the first offering from the partnership, the double A- Side Just Sign/Those Three Words. So, for the first time in far too long let’s get down to business.
Just Sign is first up and instantly demonstrates how much the Harriet! sound has developed in the time that the pair have been on the road. The song’s rockier edge showcases a more expansive style, its chorus is strong and a real ear-worm without being annoying, something which can prove difficult to master. To cut a long story short it’s a song that I really like. However, the backing vocals/ad-libs are in my view completely unnecessary. They don’t add anything of any value and only succeed to make the song sound cluttered. They don’t ruin the track by any means but they just come across as a little forced.
The second offering Those Three Words by contrast slows the pace but is by any definition nigh on flawless. As the title suggests the song takes the form of a ballad, as we find the duo’s sound stripped back to beautiful acoustic simplicity. The vocals from McDonnel and Wardleworth blend together like your favourite coffee, and bring the necessary emotion without being overbearing. As a man wearing a fedora, smoking a cigar in a very expensive suit would say “This. Is. Money.” With the pair each taking turns as lead before reuniting in the chorus you catch a glimpse of the potential these guys have. The writing is fantastic, the arrangement is perfect and the vocals hit the most wonderful of spots.
The word on the internet (the press pack that I was sent) says the there are plans for a full-length album to follow in 2018 and for fans of Harriet! that record can’t get here soon enough. Just Sign with its rocky leanings is a really good, solid track. I just can’t get along with those backing vocals… but as I eulogised above, Those Three Words is a real show stopper.
This double A-Side might only be brief glimpse of what we can expect when that album drops next year but both tracks are more than strong enough to stand on their own. Long-time fans will love them and they are sure to catch the ear of even the most casual of listeners.
Just Sign/Those Three Words will be released on CD and vinyl on the 14th August. You can pre-order both tracks now.