North Carolina’s Harm have been building a solid fanbase over the past four years, and now they’re ready to take it up to the next level with the task of their debut full-length, ‘What We Know Is A Drop, What We Don’t Know Is An Ocean’.
Opening with ‘What We Know Is A Drop’, keyboardist Andrew Simmons creates a sparse and minor soundscape underneath glitched percussion and distorted spoken word samples. Whilst the introduction is brief, it gives an inclination to the contrasting tones that the record displays.
Showcasing vocal interplay from the get go, ‘Bill Denbrough Beats The Devil’, is filled with crashing drums, clustered chords, and the driving vocals of Billie Cloer. Dense and breakneck, the track sees guitarists/vocalists Ernest Smith and Andrew Cloer deliver thick layers of melody and distortion behind Billie‘s soft vocal hooks.
Not simply a play-by-numbers take on the post-hardcore’s popular mid 2000s streak, the quintet brings honesty and a driving energy to the blueprint. Not relying on nostalgia, the group take a streamlined approach to song writing, with tracks such as ‘Stop Thinking In Straight Lines’ jumping from spinning melodies, gang vocals, harmonised leads, and cutting palm-muted chords. With a relentless pace provided by Winston Amos, the track explodes into a vocally dense coda of multiple melodies and tones.
Amidst the ringing chords and cycling lead lines, the album also adds shades of liquid drum and bass on ‘Was I You? Were You Me?’, whereas ‘If You Dig A Hole In The Yard, Better Make It A Big One’ flirts with groove laden riffs and chunky hardcore style breakdowns.
With the Stephen King referenced ‘Living By Your Wits Is Always Knowing Where The Wasps Are’, the group glides between towering distortion and fluttering percussion. Highlighting their chaotic take on structure, the track jumps through multiple transitions, never losing momentum yet anchored by solid hooks.
Ending on the slow burning and hypnotising ‘What We Don’t Know Is An Ocean’, tentative melodies swim towards a simple yet memorable chorus, before culminating in stacked and interlocked vocals, crunching chords, and moments of intimacy.
Fully realised and running at full speed, ‘What We Know Is A Drop, What We Don’t Is An Ocean’ is a record fans of MySpace will love just as much as the current post-hardcore fans will.
A short guy, loves all genres, still believes it’s 2005. Watches too much TV.