Sep 13, 2008

HARLEM "Free Drugs" LP

In Texas they do things differently than the rest of the western world. I don't know if it's the weather, the food, the water or whatever but there's always a bit of a twist to anything they do that could only come from the state. All of the tunes on this Austin, Tx combo's debut album has a stoned (natch) ramshackle jangle that might get "the kids in the know" to say something like "it's just like the Black Lips" but let's not forget that a lot of those type of dorks also say "It's just like Bob Dylan" when they hear some lame ass stuff like Bon Iver (and the only reason why they're even dropping a Dylan reference is because some tin ear with a thesaurus and a useless degree in something like philosophy who write for Pitchfork said it first).
That's not to say that Harlem aren't trying to hide the influences hanging off their sleeve or anything though. It's obvious in the way the chug & chime on some of the songs that their water has been spiked with a good dose of the Velvet Underground doing bong rips instead of junk shots on songs which is not something all that uncommon of course but it's then tempered with as good amount of Roky-like psychosis (you can especially hear it in the screams-which also may remind some a bit of Dan Kroha's singing in the Gories from time to time as well...and maybe even....GASP! A touch here and there of the Pixies), elements of baroque pop and and a dollop here and there of folkish whimsy.
The general framework of the tunes ARE of the "garage rock" persuasion but things are tweaked and twisted a bit where there are a lot of different dimensions to the songs which make the entire album interesting & clever than something just typical and shopworn.

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