Harper Blynn - The Loneliest Generation
Record Label: Baby Jackal
Release Date: December 15, 2009
Cervantes once remarked that "he who sings scares away his woes". This is for the most part true, in my opinion, but a point many artists seem to have forgotten, or choose to ignore as of late. Musicians seem more disposed towards singing about a bleak, cruel world where everyone and their mother is out to devour everyone else's fragile heart with much glee - perhaps it just tells a better story, or perhaps we're all bastards deep down inside. Regardless, and consequently, it's refreshing when a band comes along with a decidedly brighter, warmer tone. Harper Blynn is one such band.
Harper Blynn, known in the past as Pete and J, changed their name after the introduction of bassist Whynot Jansveld and drummer Sarab Singh. This transition from duo to quartet is a pleasant, with heavy emphasis, change. I hesitate and don't want to say improvement, as that might imply they were in some way lacking before; and after giving a listen to their previous work, I can't agree with that assessment. However, a warm, now somewhat more well-rounded sound tinged by elements of eighties' college rock provides a solid foundation for their tracks. Meanwhile, the inclusion of a style reminiscent of folk tunes permeates the album, A wide range of tonal repertoire, from the nostalgic and wistful "The Doubt" to the raucous opening tune "25 Years" is covered in this album, showcasing their musicianship. The crowning achievement here, however, is the tight-knit harmony between each individual musician, seamlessly blending into a dulcet whole.
The lyrics in The Loneliest Generation aren't quite poetic, so to speak, but that's a part of their charm. They're simple, but not plain; easily understood, but still able to carry across the full impact of the song: the point is, they're succinct, and without excess. Regardless, they can be fairly poignant at times. The slow, "la-la-la"-infused "All Pretenders" ("Well maybe she's a puppet on a foolish arm; is our ambition burning out?") which laments missed opportunities in life with less angst than one would expect, and the "na-na-na"-infused title track "Loneliest Generation" ("If every chance we take is one you never had, then how can I expect you to understand anyhow?"), a defiant rebuttal of sorts, stand out in memory.
The vocals compliment the lush sound of the band's melodies well. Shared by Pete Harper and J. Blynn, whether they're softly crooning in "All the Noise", or belting out choruses in "This is It", a rich tone coats each song in a luster that seems genuine. They manage to fit the overall mood of the album more or less perfectly, giving off a sense of vibrant, vivid energy without failing to recall a certain depth.
Harper Blynn don't seem exactly revolutionary or particularly ground-breaking at a first glance, but after listening to the album for an extended period of time (seven, for myself) it becomes quickly apparent that they're good, if not great, at what they do; and that their music is infused not only with a hint of nostalgia from the past but marked with the inspiration of their own laughter-filled muses. Most importantly though, they're fun to listen to, which is a quality much needed in this world lately. The Loneliest Generation is an album well worth the investment in time.