Crow Hardly is a songwriter from West Virginia who recently released Waves. It’s a lo-fi effort that revolves around his acoustic guitar and vocals. There are other elements in the mix like loose percussion but they are often just ornamental.
Hardly opens up with the title track which is an almost four-minute song which feels like an intro. He combines vocal samples, field recording of waves and his guitar. The song introduces some white noise and gets more chaotic as it progresses. I felt this song could have been more effective at around forty-five seconds than four minutes and it worked as a nice segue into “Sinking Ship.”
“Sinking Ship” feels like an actual song due in part to his vocals. The song is very basic relying on 4/4 time and simple chord progressions. There’s nothing wrong with that in my opinion. Especially when the vocals take center stage. Hardly’s vocals are slightly nasally in a pop punk type of way especially when he goes for a higher pitch. The sparse female vocal harmonies are effective. Overall it is a decent song but I have to admit I would have liked to hear a bit more instrumentation given the fact the guitar sounded mostly like root notes. The song ends oddly and unnecessarily with an ominous sample of wind and water.
Next up is “Body To The Sea” which follows a similar formula to “Sinking Ship.” The guitar is loose and is strummed in a similar manner to the previous song. I liked Hardly’s voice but sometimes he can’t quite hit the notes he needs to and he runs into trouble.
“Calm” is a soft ambient piece that is actually quite beautiful. Too bad it sounds worlds apart from anything that came before it. “Coast To Coast, Shore To Shore” reverts back to the same style as “Sinking Ship” and “Body To The Sea.” He adds some sort of synth this time around.
In another odd stylistic deviation Hardly experiments with synths and multiple vocal lines in “Waves (Pt.2).”.It's the most experimental song with some decent ideas.
For better or worse Hardly’s ideas and concepts on this EP almost feel random. This isn’t a bad thing when working on different albums or EPs but can get confusing when presented as one collection of songs. Hardly may have some potential and talent but he will unequivocally benefit from having a more cohesive vision with his releases.
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