Single Review... HARPER - Feel So Hollow

Since forming just over a year ago in September 2012, it's safe to say it hasn't been the smoothest of journeys for East London's latest indie-rock outfit, Harper. However, like all car journeys, the pothole riddled roads don't go on forever, and they are soon forgotten in the grand scheme of things.

But just so you understand why I used that analogy, I'll explain. Within months of the bands formation, two original members left, leaving the remaining members scampering around trying to look for replacements. As well as this, they unfortunately also failed to surpass the first round of Essex Undiscovered - a competition that Matthew Broadbent (Harper's lead singer) and Daniel Bhattacharya's (Harper's lead guitarist) old band, The Fiftyfours, reached the final of back in 2010. However, as I have already kind of stated, these little things that briefly throw you off course never last forever and that point is proven with the arrival of Harper's latest single. 

To refer back to my initial and probably awful analogy, 'Feel So Hollow' is the very cement used to fill in those holes in the road. It bridges the gap between the shear brilliance of The Fiftyfours and the not as direct or punchy efforts of early Harper, successfully fusing the best bits of the two - ultimately creating Harper's best track to date. The song oozes masses of sex appeal and both the guitar and Jamie Simpson's bass riffs flow exquisitely throughout like the finger caressing your lovers neck, constantly complimenting Broadbent's snarling yet intricate vocal melodies. It's the sort of track you can imagine a load of stoned teenage boys 'monging' out to whilst all there equally as stoned and extremely attractive 'lady friends' snog each others faces off. 

Harper - East London's latest indie-rock outfit
The backing vocals mimic the likes of Matt Helders and Nick O'Malley from Arctic Monkeys and in all honestly, the similarities don't stop there between the two bands. The distorted climaxing guitar solo contributed by Matt, the apparent driving force behind the band, is up there with Mr Alex Turners best and most recent work and after multiple listens, I came to a specific conclusion. If I had to sum this track up in under ten words, I would be happy in saying that it's just like an Arctic Monkeys B-Side. But don't fall into the trap of thinking that the term 'B-Side' signifies a bad song, because anyone who has actually listened to the many brilliant B-Sides of the Sheffield band would even say themselves that they are better than most bands actual album songs - so my reference there is nothing other than complimentary. 

The drums, courtesy of Toby Thacker are undeniably simply. However, in this case Thacker's decision to go minimalistic with the fills and main beat is a clever move. It's often hard sometimes for drummers to refrain from just imbedding an over complex drum beat in the bid to look better than they actually are and a lot of the time in doing so, they can ruin a song. But luckily, that isn't the case here and the drums, which appear to have been slightly dipped in a pool of reverb, help to pull everything in this song together and although on this particular track the drums aren't really the main focus point - I believe them to be one of the most important parts. 

Admittedly for me the track is still not as direct as I would like it to be, and in my opinion some of Broadbent's best work is still his earlier efforts that he penned when he was around the ripe ol' age of just 16/17. When the overall gallop of the song was so quick it gave him a feasible excuse to throw himself about like crazed lunatic on stage whilst delivering a verse of entirely upfront, cut throat lyrics. But in this case that no longer matters. A musicians approach to their own songwriting changes all the time, but that doesn't mean that their new direction isn't going to be just as great - because this is just as great - just in a different way. 

The question of how long that new cement in those potholes will last however can only be answered over time, but given that it does last a while, the rest of the band's career will undoubtedly be a more pleasurably ride for both them, and us.

Score: 8/10
Artwork for Harper's new single - out 25th November
The band's single 'Feel So Hollow' will be released on the 25th November. 

If you wish to find the band online, do so via the following links:

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