Harv is born and bred in Northern Ireland he discovered and became hooked on the style, music and feeling of the mod scene after a small resurgence of the subculture in Northern Ireland in 1985. He was hooked on bands like The Prisoners and The Times and knew which path he wanted to start following. Music and fashion became his passion and he would spend his Saturdays around second hand shops in Belfast trying to find clothes he could give a new lease of life. He would look through the record shops for a bargain discovering sounds that felt relevance to him.
In late 1987 Harv left Northern Ireland’s shores to join the British Army, A job which he remained dedicated to for 25 years. His mod ethics stayed with him throughout his career finding a different direction as the fashion and music changed with time.
He began playing guitar and over the years perfected tracks from bands such as Oasis, OCS and Small Faces, he enjoyed jamming but never really took it serious until 2015 and started writing his own music. He formed an acoustic duo alongside a friend named the coronations which went on to have some regional success. He felt he wanted to move on and do his own thing as the duo evolved into a 5 piece band. They released their original material debut EP “Midnight In Belfast” which would be popular across Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland. However, Harv realised the band started to move in a direction he hadn’t envisioned so he parted ways with the Coronations in a Quest to go at it on his own as an acoustic artist. He has performed across Northern Ireland securing support slots with the likes of Pretty Cartel and Jam Pact. He has also performed at various scooter rallies through England such as Bolton, Manchester, Blackburn to name but a few.
“ Not Quite Seeing It Clear” is his solo debut E.P released a few months back and written just before the pandemic. We are delighted to have received a copy for review. The EP has been engineered and produced by “Static” Ian Currie from Pretty Cartel, with Lennon Currie providing lead guitar in the Title track, not quite seeing it clear.
Harv has said that he wanted to bring the tracks to life with a hint of the music that influenced him over the years, from full on guitar rifts, bass intros to melancholy tracks that have relevance. The EP’s artwork was created by Rachel McCullough and features a beautiful photograph of Mod girl Model Cathy McCullough. We have reviewed each track below from start to finish and hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we have.
Not Quite Seeing it Clear
It is the title track of the “Not Quite Seeing it Clear”. This song bestows the vibes of indie rock. Indie rock has its origins in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s and it’s clear Harv is hugely inspired by that era as well as the Brit pop of era of the late 90s. His voice in the whole song gives the native accent of London English along with a blend of Harv’s native Northern Irish tongue.
Though the melody of the song is upbeat with electronic guitar grooves, it’s all about reminiscing. The vintage flavour of the vocals of the singer is perfect for the feeling of reminiscing the past. The crackling texture of the Harv’s voice just adds to the melancholy of getting ahead of something and missing it and the softness has enhanced its headedness.
When Harv sings “Hello, Monday. The weekend was just here. Now it’s gone” at the start of the song it sets the mood for languishing over the time which is gone and there are again the daily tasks to be done in almost a repeating pattern. He even voices the weekend tasks to be robotic which further exaggerates the glory of carefree days when there was passion. However when he sings “No, I’m not seeing it clear” it seeps down deep into the fact the past is gone and now it is only in his head that is becoming dull. The song breathes the past so it is a beautiful way to remember the good charisma of past days and be alive again. To celebrate life with the same spirit. Perfect song to blast in your car while driving to work.
Where you belong
“Where you Belong” is the second track on the E.P. The indie roll-n-roll vibe continues in this song and starts enchanting the listeners with the groovy and tangy guitar chords at the very beginning, which continue to play throughout with intervals of vocals in between. This pattern sets a motivating tone, If the former track was about reminiscing the good spirit of the past, this track is about letting go of bad past experiences and finally healing. As Harv sings about the past; it wasn’t to last, it gives you the courage to let go of the times that never last. Everything goes so Harv suggests through an energetic voice, “Don’t look back, keep on looking ahead” like a life motto. Harv urges us with soft yet eager vocals where you belong only you can find. Healing is a journey that begins within yourself when you finally accept the bad places or people are not the spaces where you belong. Only you can decide for yourself what’s a true place for you to belong. You decide your belonging. I feel that’s what Harv is trying to celebrate in this track; the right to choose for yourself. Your Place, Your Home and that you’re worth it because you have a short time living, a long time dead.
Girl in the Crowd
Third, in line, starting with soft guitar notes combined with melodic piano this song gives off a different mood because it is a romantic melody that is centred on the sweet softest of first-sight love and its aftermath euphoric state. In the bliss of the said state, you just forget about the surrounding world. You can only picture yourself with your beloved. Harv sings “It’s just you and me” which implies the world seems to not exist. This is the merriment of being in love which Harv seems to rejoice throughout the song. “Girl in the crowd only I can see” at the start implies further the euphoric state of mind after falling in love at first sight. Harv beautifully sings the passionate feelings he feels towards the girl in the crowd as he considers himself lucky. He sees his near future with her. He considers her arms the only place where he wants to be. He considers this soft bliss as a strawberry feel. The tender feelings he feels are beautifully delivered in the vocals and melody.
Everything about this song is soft and tender yet raw. The softness can be seen through the rhyming lyrics; “The girl in the crowd with a smile so deep. My heart you keep.” This song is a perfect fit to play on a soft Sunday morning to celebrate love and tenderness with your loved one.
My Mind’s free
The song starts with a strong bass drum rhythm and then zesty electronic guitar strings feature a liberating state of mind. The accentuated “ow” in the song explicitly delivers its indie genre tinge. The way Harv sings “Mind” which is a single syllable word into two syllables with the entrance to a slight high note while voicing the second syllable of the word is amazing. He has a great grasp of his voice and vocal range. The beat is energetic, The lyrics are simple but catchy and memorable. The combination results in a carefree song. A song to rejoice in the clarity of mind and soul. A song to transfer the energy of focusing on one’s dreams and desires. This song feels like fuelling the dreams which were not clear in a purple haze before.
Harv sings towards the end of the song “My mind’s free so let me be me” in a lighthearted style. This song feels like it should be added to the “get up and do everything to achieve your dreams” playlist and a great song to help motivate the listener. A perfect get-go-spirited song.
Image © Harv Alan 2022