Harvey Girls – I’ve Been Watching a Lot of Horror Movies Lately

January 01, 1970

(Circle Into Square)




With opener “The Body Without Any Eyes,” The Harvey Girls
could be masquerading as one of many roots-music-informed-by-post-‘70s-Prog outfits
for maybe half a minute. But the
seductive softness is pierced by little extra somethings: here, the clip-clop of horse hooves joining the
repetitive guitar pluck that’s ultimately joined by tambourine shakes. And the naked,
single-note guitar forecasts an unusual ride. “FWIW” continues the message to
any receiver who’s in no particular hurry, especially if s(he)’s enamored of scaled-down,
primal Pink Floyd.


The repetitive “Puss” evolves slowly into a lovely sunrise
fanned by cellos and Brian-Wilson-grade harmonies. By now, anyone craving more
obvious, speedily-delivered jolts will have moved on. The listener who enjoys multi-layered,
somewhat quirky offerings will have settled into his/her La-Z-Boy with a tall
one for a reverie that’s gently interrupted by the relatively spunky electronic
runs and melodic, Brian-Wilson-circa Surf’s
moans of “Smile Like Gwynplaine.” He or she will probably grin like a
jack-o-lantern at the spiraling, sometimes droning guitars driving “A Letter to
the Bees” into a sweet TFUL 282 vibe.


Even when the La-Z-Boy occupant nods out, thinking (s)he’s
got THGs pegged, a modest little masterpiece like “Caerse Muerto” lures them in
with another slow, single-note repetition gradually building to a mouthpiece
for the agony of modern horror stories, like the recent Gulf oil spill, or
9/11. Although some of Hiram Lucke and Melissa Rodenbeek’s softer stuff could
be a second cousin to Innocence Mission on acid, they’re no teases: After “Caerse,”
there’s the cathartic dissonance of “Monster.” Even the closer refuses the “We’re
done now; we’ve dropped enough sincerity” glibness plaguing many Alt.
full-lengths – while “Alpha Invasion on Delta Waves (Lullaby of Brueghel)” trickles
in slowly, it eventually mounts another effective marriage of lyrical
dissonance. Nice.


Standout Tracks: “Puss,”
“Caerse Muerto,” “Monster” MARY LEARY


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