Andy Harper’s quirkiness makes itself clear even before the first song on The One and Only Me begins as the cover depicts a modified portrait of the Mona Lisa taking a selfie. This picture captures Harper’s forty-two year old creative spirit in a way that words could not. The music on the album continues this attitude in mostly short tunes that incorporate classic sounds with idiosyncratic twists and highly symbolic lyrics that translate to everyday life well.
Light piano and sparse percussion backup Harper’s voice in the opening track “Inspire Me” and after he climbs up note by note to a dynamic climax, synthesizers and guitars join the mix to create a fuller soundscape. The next song “Click & Scroll” is a slightly cynical, but mostly thought-provoking song that employs electronic drums and guitars in a power ballad poised to reveal a more serious side of Harper and his music.
“Battlefields” returns to a slightly more playful rhythm that transforms into an emotive, wistful cry and plead. Harper launches into a spacey, electro-driven world in the record’s title track, one of the more catchy songs on the album. Vocal harmonies layered over pulsating synthesizers and keyboard sounds lead a classic rock n’ roll blend into an upbeat style that carries over into “Joy,” which adds a touch of blues to the album.
A lightning-paced synthesizer begins “Absence of You,” paving the way for guitars, percussion and layered voices to blast into the soundscape with genuine feeling. As the longest song on the record, this tune explores several different manifestations of the opening riff with different sounds and rhythms repeated and combined in different ways to make for an extremely enjoyable listen. Following is the shortest song on the record “Bring the Love,” a brief, moderately paced melodic tune that alternates between sing-along and rock anthem.
Andy takes his foot off the energy pedal for the intro of “Lo Res” and opts for a reflective, introspective moment of predominantly piano and voice. The song gradually builds to include synthesizer and vocal harmonies until the end as the sound fades away. The album ends with “Trials,” which returns to a minor, rock soundscape now well known and understood by the listener of Harper’s music. Overall, this record accurately portrays Andy Harper’s musical personality and traverses the many facets of his songwriting in a way that attracts listeners of many styles and genres.
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