CD Review: Brett Harris — Man Of Few Words; Playing Kavarna with Nick Niespodziani and Ken Will Morton, April 22
Man Of Few Words
By Leila Regan-Porter
It’s been said before of amazing undiscovered gems, and we’re going to say it again: It is a wonder that Brett Harris is not a bona fide pop star. His tunes should be heard on every episode of “Bones,” every commercial for a Toyota Prius, at the top of the iTunes charts and hailed by the blogosphere as the best songwriting of the year. But it is one of the tragedies of the world of music, that as it is brimming with choices, many get overlooked.
Luckily Harris’ record has come across our desk here at Atlanta Music Guide, and we’re going to tell you a little bit about him and his new album, Man Of Few Words. First of all, the Lennon/McCartney references are undeniable, but this is no bad thing. Harris takes that Beatles sound that is pure pop joy and curves it into his own charming set of nuggets, from the “baa-baa’s” and “laa-laa’s” on the bouncy, trumpet-backed “So Easy” to the sunny opener “I Found Out,” which is so lushly laden with strings, plinky piano and “oooh-ing” vocals that it could have come straight from Abbey Road Studios.
The songs aren’t all straight-up Beatlesque pop though. There is also a lovely mix of Americana in there, especially on tracks like “Unspoken,” with its hushed brushed drums and simple harmonies. The aforementioned “So Easy” also has some charming Burt Bacharach qualities. And then the glorious “Mansfield” could beat ELO’s “Mr Blue Sky” for catchy bouncy tunage and addictive handclaps. “Perpetual Motion” has a bit of Muscle Shoals R’n'B thrown into a slightly twee indie pop sound, made complete by the chilled Hammond organ lingering in the background. Kermit The Frog would keep “Wish” on his iPod, with it’s waltzing accordion and quiet humbleness making a perfect ode to the green one’s “Rainbow Connection.”
With all the glorious arrangements surrounding Harris, somehow his simple melodies and charismatic vocals still shine through, his voice slightly reminiscent of Josh Rouse, with a honest, charming quality that always sounds sincere and never smarmy. It’s rare to have such a complete collection of such honest-sounding songs that is a treat to listen to from beginning to end.