On first listen to The Harvey Girls’ latest release, “I’ve Been Watching A Lot of Horror Movies Lately,” I knew little about the group aside from its name. Imagine my surprise when, after an intro sparkling with hand claps and horse hooves, it was a male voice singing on the first track, “The Body Without Any Eyes”. However, my initial shock wore off rather quickly, as I found myself introduced to the world of The Harvey Girls.
Formed by Melissa Rodenbeek and Hiram Lucke in 2003, the duo united in a quest to bond experimental sampling techniques with a pure pop sound. The Harvey Girls pull influence from what seems like dozens of genres, ranging from the indie rock gem “A Letter to the Bees” that takes cues from Peter Bjorn and John, to the 7-minute Spanish language epic “Caerse Muerto”, which, much like its title suggests (the English translation is “to fall dead”), creates a deep and atmospheric scene with finger-picking guitar and a meandering melody.
While I found some of the more loop-based tracks rather monotonous, a few of the songs based within the pop/rock genre were not just enjoyable, but downright addictive. The handclaps at the beginning of “Only Apparitions on the Lawn” set the tone for the Harvey take on contemporary folk, while “Monster” has a call and response chorus that makes you want to sing along.
Of course, what truly sets this album apart is the experimental production. If you want to find out more about their production techniques, check out The Harvey Girls’ blog at http://www.tendollarguitar.wordpress.com. They document and supply examples of their incredibly unique ideas.
By Dana Wells