Broke In Stereo is essentially the brainchild and creative project from Cabell Harris. His four-song release Ear Art is an eclectic EP that doesn’t pigeonhole him into any corner but at the same time doesn’t quite paint a vivid picture of his own style.
He opens with “Dark Side” which in my opinion was an odd choice for an opener because of the energy level (I actually thought the last song on the EP should have been switched with this song). The song moves along at a relatively slow BPM and more or less stays at that pace. Harris covers his voice in distortion and vaguely resembles The Walkmen and the lesser known but now defunct Sparklehorse. He sings, ”You have broken me at first I thought it hurt / Now that it’s over I know it’s absurd / Cuz I am just empty and you are the filler / A match made of nothing is always a killer.”
The next track “Rollin Stone” feels like a huge departure from “Dark Side.” It touts a bluesy vibe and Harris’ vocal delivery is loose with some swag. He sounds like a different person and even plays into Sublime-esque vocal delivery during the verse. It’s really cool in and of itself but left me scratching my head as to the overall idea of the EP.
Harris goes into another direction on “Right Again” but sounds more in line with the first track. “Right Again” is the most inspired song on the EP for a number of reasons. Harris’ vocals sound natural. He is subdued yet dynamic with his delivery. The music also happens to be the most inventive landing somewhere between Radiohead and Tool at their very softest. My only complaint is in the aesthetic department. The drums were too low in the mix and I could barely make out the snare and cymbals.
“Forever Lost” is the biggest sounding track on the EP by a wide margin. He fuses elements of post-rock into this song and reaches some impressive peaks. The vocals while still a bit different than anything that came before are solid. I have to make a note that the EP would have been more seamless if the songs were at similar volume - something a proper mastering engineer would have taken care of. The last song is noticeably much louder than the first song.
Make no doubt about it Harris is one talented artist. This is simply a case of him feeling his way through and hopefully coming out the other end with a better idea of what defines his sound and his songs.
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