Album review: Boy Harsher – Careful

Boy Harsher - Careful album cover

Careful, the sophomore album from Massachsetts duo Boy Harsher, is full of ominous, brooding electro pop that plays heavily on 80s infuences – to great effect.

The relentless single tone synth bass that pervades across this album reeks of 80s sci-fi horror movies and anyone who’s been enjoying Stranger Things will find the musical style appearing here instantly recognisable.

The vocals of Jae Matthews provide and ethereal backdrop to the sense of foreboding delivered by Augustus Muller’s keyboards. Some tracks are all about creating a sense of dystopia, such as opener Keep Driving, Crush and Careful, which could easily have come from the mind of David Lynch.

However the album has pop firmly at its heart, with tracks such as Face the Fire, Tears, and LA drawing on influences such as early Depeche Mode and even the Pet Shop Boys.

Closer was a strong contender for my album of the week, but what probably took it out of the running was that, while hugely enjoyable, as you delve deeper into the album all the tracks start to blend into one. Bar the occasional trip into weirdness, most of the tracks are relatively interchangeable.

This album will be one that would work well when added to a shuffled playlist. It’s great to hear one of the tracks pop up when you’re not expecting it, but playing through the whole album can start to feel like a bit of a chore.

Release date: 01 February 2019

Rating: 7/10

Standout track: Come Closer

For fans of:

  • The Soft Moon
  • Sisters of Mercy
  • Sink Ya Teeth

Listen on Spotify

Album review: Finlay Shakespeare – Domestic Economy

Finlay Shakespeare - Domestic Economy album cover

Bristol resident Finlay Shakespeare has with his debut album Domestic Economy, produced a fine, meaty slab of electro-pop that draws heavily on 90’s acid house and techno influences. There are some choice cuts here, but it does feel like there is some excess fat that could be trimmed off the sides.

The album as a whole feels like a collection of dance remixes of 90’s indie tunes, and as such has its high points and fillers.

There are some fantastic pieces on here, such as the utterly yummy Dublin that leans heavily on a house beat while layering acid-like effects on top – all carried along by a delightful bass line. Opener Luleå offers us a Blue Monday-style beat and a nice squelchy bass – beefing up Finlay’s rather thin vocal style.

Similarly, Benedict Canyon is pushed relentlessly along by choppy synths, electro horns and that classic 808 drum line. Monadnock brings more of a brooding menace alongside the acid hooks.

The album is far from perfect though. At points it starts to feel a little samey and the softer, slower tracks such as Perris and Pittville rely too much on Finaly’s vocals, which is probably the weakest element on the album.

This is a promising debut for Finlay and offers much promise. Not yet the finished article but I’m looking forward to seeing where he goes from here.

Release date: 01 February 2019

Rating: 7/10

Standout track: Dublin

For fans of:

  • New Order
  • Orbital
  • Depeche Mode

Listen on Spotify