Ross Harley has been in bands for twenty-three years now. He has an impressive list of accomplishments and I am jealous he got to make a record with Steven Alibini. By the time you’re twenty-three years in you’re no longer in your youth. I’ve been playing music for around twenty- five years and your priorities change. Harley explains: “In and out of lockdown, while working full-time and parenting. My wife as my workmate across the hall, my 18 month-old daughter as the impatient, erratic boss. DADDY CLEAN is about that and everything else. It’s everything I can offer using only my own wits and an 8-track app on my phone.
The itch to make music usually lasts a lifetime and this album is a testament to that. This album contains ten songs and has a lush and atmospheric quality. The drums all seemed to be programmed but sounded good with the organic guitars which are usually clean. One of the things I enjoyed about this album was just the structure of the songs. It’s like he creates a foundation where he sort of streams his ideas. There weren't always clearly defined hooks and verses and I thought that was pretty cool and unique.
Take for instance the first song “Start” which starts minimally with bass, drums and vocals. Guitars enter into the picture but it almost feels like it starts over in a sense. It works and with repeated listens it really starts to click.
Harley does a nice job building subtle crescendos and dynamics on songs like “Ducks,” “Blush” and “Clocks.” There are also some nice grooves as well. I loved the very consistent 4/4 flow of “Breathe.” I could have done without the auto-tune effect on “Boot” but it is a minor quibble.
One of the highlights was “Stories” which has a forward moving momentum with philosophical insight into existential topics. “Void” has its moments as well and I really enjoyed the subdued funk of “Stop.” Last up is “Grace” which is very haunting but also changes emotive qualities quite often.
This is a great album. I still make music to gain perspective and although I never met Harley I feel like we are similar in this regard. Take a listen.
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