|14 × 12.5 × 1 cm
CD Review by Karen-Wilhelmina Anderson
“A New Way Of Talking” Peter Harvey’s 2nd album delivers a lot of surprises for the listener. The more you hear it, the deeper you get pulled in by the vivid and thought provoking lyrics, observations on human behaviour, and dramatic changes of musical genre.
This interesting CD ranges from numbers with a definite country feel, through to the futuristic staccato song of internet download on the first track and the spacey, pink noise, meditative track 9 which features the soaring ethereal vocals of a previously unknown soprano, referred to in the titles simply as ‘Caitlin’. Mix this up with a little Island Blues and its visions of cresting waves and swaying palms, and the ominously gorgeous, poltergistic “Trick Of The Light” with it’s strong spiritual message, and there’s something here for everyone.
“Just Counting Clouds” would have to be my favourite, (although it’s very hard to pick just one song) – so descriptive and poignant. You can almost feel the displacement of the air as the swallows dip and dive between the notes of this beautiful ballad. A bittersweet story that blows a fresh wind through your very soul and makes you appreciate that you’re alive today, and a gentle reminder of the courage of our soldiers, who have given their lives that we may live in freedom – the transition of a soul from the innocence of boyhood to the responsibilities of manhood and the eventual rejoining with spirit.
There are mutiple, deep layers to the songs and music on this album. Peter has a potent gift for song craft and is an accomplished musician of many instruments. Everytime you sit down to listen, your mind takes off into another dimension; pondering the true meaning of life and all those tricks of the light.
CD review by Chris Spencer
This is Peter’s second solo album away from his folk rock band, Rough Red. Aside of the first track, one can see why he has chosen to record by himself again. These songs are varied, quieter, more laid back and less politically orientated. He has also utilised different sounds that would be out of place on a Rough Red recording.
The title track is most similar to a Rough Red track. I think Harvey made a mistake leading the album off with this upbeat, brash, almost harsh drum driven track. The contrast between this track and almost every other track is too extreme. For example, “Little Darling” is a lilting love song, “Island Blues” is an exquisite instrumental featuring Harvey playing a 1935 Martin acoustic guitar. The use of chimes is a revelation. “Just Counting Clouds” – with its solo piano accompaniment, is laidback, wistful, perhaps an anti-war song, while “Ghosts in the Night”features a relaxed rhythm, a piano accordion and is the most folksy sounding song on the album. “Trick of the Light” is another slow ballad, with an uncomplicated arrangement. “Stupid Games” also has anti-war sentiments, but its delivery is more assertive. “Think About You” is a love ballad where he laments leaving a relationship, I have mixed feelings about the keystone track of this album. Lasting over 15 minutes, “The Flight of the Dawn”covers various genres: experimental, hard rock, electric guitars and synthesisers.
Harvey’s liner notes mention the use of “filtered pink noise” on this track. It’s an ambitious track that doesn’t work for me. On the one hand I applaud artists venturing into realms that are outside their usual “modus operandi” but on the other, the resultant work is so far removed from his usual body of work, that the divergence is too wide; the cohesiveness of this album is compromised. There are no lyrics, so it becomes a sound melange of different ideas, instruments and feelings. Towards the end, with the overlay of the cooing of Caitlin, the song becomes a meandering new age, relaxation segment.
If you like your listening palate to be challenged, this album might be for you. Fans of Rough Red will be disappointed, and perveyors of traditional folk might want more familiar strains.
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