# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Harper Lee - Go Back To Bed

  by Laura Branch

published: 17 / 12 / 2001

Harper Lee - Go Back To Bed
Label: Matinee Recordings
Format: CD


Harper Lee’s debut album is what is proverbially known as a “grower” .At first listen it may seem simply like another batch of angst ridden songs written by and for dressing gown wearing, cold baked b

Harper Lee’s debut album is what is proverbially known as a “grower” .At first listen it may seem simply like another batch of angst ridden songs written by and for dressing gown wearing, cold baked bean eating depressives; but you’d be completely wrong if you thought this. In fact, it would be totally dismissive to describe Harper Lee in such throwaway terms as “depressing”, which is how I imagine many philistines will automatically stereotype them. Ahem. I’d be lying, however, if I said it didn’t sometimes veer towards the bleak end of melancholic but the songs appear to have a certain sincerity which makes them highly endearing. For a stock reference however, Harper Lee are a little like Belle and Sebastian – but with swearing. The songs themselves are based around seemingly simple structures, where Keris Howard's’ vocals are at the fore. His voice is very expressive, despite him not being a natural singer, and makes you want to envelop him in a big bear hug. For example, “Clifton Street Passage” is a bit of a tearjerker, as Keris recites a tale of what sounds like unrequited love. Awww. Relationships seem to be at the centre of the subject matter of “Go back to bed”, conveying emotion without talking the easy option of becoming clichéd or superficial, and making for an earnest album which, such is its frankness, that at times you feel as if you shouldn’t be listening to it. Harper Lee, despite there being only two of them, certainly utilise the basic keyboard/drums/ guitars set up to full effect. The simplicity yet delicacy of the structures help to reinforce Keris’s vocals while preventing the whole affair becoming too intense – particularly so on “Dry Land” which builds to a beautiful crescendo. “Deep dark Ocean” sees Harper Lee begin to enter the Spiritualised territory of “Ladies and Gentlemen…”, with strings that gradually build and envelop the desolate sounding vocals of Keris as he sings with characteristic honesty “So tell me who do I turn to now/…so tell me what do I do without you…” This flows nicely into “Brooklyn Bridge” which at least sounds more positive and sees what I’m interpreting as a little bit of dark humour creeping in with Keris singing “a waste of fucking energy” with delightful indifference. The album is brought to an end with “Low” which is unlike the other songs as it has an almost eighties sounding synthetic drum beat. Again, in order to prevent the song slipping away into the land of the dirge, the instruments build up gradually, reinforcing the mantra like lyrics such as “And if you’re feeling low, how low can you go…come with me, come with me…” which are emphasised to great effect by Keris’s elongated vowels, and rounds off the album , an exercise in the beauty of simplicity and honesty, nicely.

Track Listing:-
1 Seem So Right
2 Doing Nothing
3 Dry Land
4 Only Connect
5 Deep Dark Ocean
6 Brooklyn Bridge
7 Bug
8 Clifton Street Passage
9 Your Life
10 Low

Label Links:-

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Interview with Keris Howard (2006)
Harper Lee - Interview with Keris Howard
Former front man with indiepop groups Brighter and Harper Lee, Keris Howard chats to Chris Jones about one time Sarah Records' signing Brighter's second compilation, 'Out to Sea', which has just been released on Matinee Records
Interview (2002)


He Holds a Flame (2006)
Familiar-sounding, but also excellent electropop on new EP from Brighton duo Harper Lee, the seventh of Californian indiepop label Matinee Records
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