Day 12: Harlem – Hippies

12 Mar

Friendly Ghost

I saw Harlem over the summer.  I was not introduced to them on the best terms.  The Dead Weather were playing a show at the Congress Theater in Chicago, with Harlem opening, and I wasn’t in the best mood for a few reasons:

  • Doors opened an hour late, and Harlem didn’t take the stage until 9pm
  • My Jack White obsession brought me to the show, but I wasn’t particularly excited to see him behind the drums AGAIN.
  • The Dead Weather are mediocre at best.
  • Big venues like Congress suck.
  • The crowds at big venues like Congress suck.
  • I had a sore throat so severe that I couldn’t eat anything.
  • Apparently, I was manstrating as well.

So, I’ll admit that Harlem didn’t do it for me that night.  I don’t like judging bands based on one performance, so I decided to listen to their album before making the final call.  Yes, I realize it’s seven months later.  I have to get through 365 albums, okay?

So now, after that awful concert has almost left my mind, I can give Harlem the real chance that they deserve.

I’m glad I gave them another shot, as Hippies is a decent album.  I like the lo-fi, garage rock sound, and there are a bunch of creative, catchy songs on the album.  Tracks like Someday Soon and Faces stick out as particularly fun.   The vocals are muffled, and a little hard to understand, but that goes along with the album’s lo-fi style.  I didn’t get the impression that the lyrics are particularly important for a full understanding of the songs, either.

My problem with the album is its repetitive nature.  I understand that bands have a particular sound, and are bound to have moments that sound similar to other moments, but it seems to me that there is very little variety throughout Hippies.  If the album had fewer songs, this might have worked out, but with sixteen songs, there should be an assortment of sound and song types.  Hippies is good, and it could have been great with a little more variety.

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One Response to “Day 12: Harlem – Hippies”

  1. The Yuan March 14, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    I listened to the linked track — meh. But congratulations for your bold stand, young Jedi, on the Dead Weather’s resounding mediocrity. Jack White with a guitar or behind a mixing board is a genius. Maybe, THE Genius. Jack White behind a drum kit is a lost soul.

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