Hailing from Sydney, Australia, David Harrod is an alternative folk singer songwriter who has been in the music industry since very early in his life. After his band broke up in 1990, he locked up his musical gear in a shed with no intention of returning to music, but last year after his family bought him a new guitar, he came back to songwriting and performing with a roar. His recent album Palisade is the product of his newfound energy and passion.
The record begins with “Keys & Crown” a foot-stomping, dark folk tune featuring vibrato-laced vocals from Harrod, steady pounding percussion and a chorus of both electric and acoustic guitars, organ and layers of vocal harmonies. Harrod skillfully uses his multiple instruments to create an inviting, encompassing soundscape that draws the listener in.
The acoustic guitars are prominent in “Sad Happy Face” a wistful, subdued ballad with classic chord progressions that border between familiar and nostalgic styles. The song is fairly repetitive, yet the variety within the repeated sections makes the song a very enjoyable listen, especially with the upbeat whistle solo that Harrod so effortlessly executes.
The energy of the album descends slightly in “So Far Away” and droning notes generate an extremely relaxing aura around the song. Harrod’s voice floats above the rest of the instruments, and as the song continually and gradually builds in dynamic intensity as the song progresses, Harrod’s emotive voice similarly expands in energy and in power, all while maintaining a solemn quality.
The final two tracks on Palisade build upon the success of the first three. “The Mountain You Build”, the first song that Harrod wrote for this album, is a blend of acoustic-led folk rock and a more ambient, even experimental style. Interesting chord patterns and a driving beat make this a highlight on the album. The record comes to an end with “Knocking” a soft song that crescendos to a strong conclusion, then gently fades away.
As a whole, Palisade is proof that David Harrod has lost none of his musical skill and prowess in his 25-year sabbatical from music. If anything, this album is simply a masterful step in his journey that is just beginning.
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