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Harper Lee - He Holds a Flame

  by Chris Jones

published: 5 / 10 / 2006

Harper Lee - He Holds a Flame
Label: Matinee Recordings
Format: CDS


Familiar-sounding, but also excellent electropop on new EP from Brighton duo Harper Lee, the seventh of Californian indiepop label Matinee Records

In the indiepop world, Keris Howard is a true veteran of the game. It's almost hard to believe that his first band Brighter released their debut single back in 1989! Brighter became one of the more beloved bands on the Sarah label, but sadly disbanded in 1992. Howard and fellow Brighter bandmate Alex Sharkey explored the electro-pop sound under the Hal moniker, but lasted for even a shorter period of time than Brighter. Since 1999, Howard has been creating music as Harper Lee along with the help of Laura Bridge. This EP is the seventh release from Harper Lee on the Matinee label. In some ways, Howard has continued the Sarah legacy more than anyone aside from Bobby Wratten - who Howard plays bass with in Trembling Blue Stars. And like Wratten, Howard is a connoisseur of melancholy and longing. In Howard's case though, the source of his despair is not nearly as well known as Wratten's and in some ways that makes it easier to relate to his songs. Howard has a knack for writing simple, pure pop songs that rely on dreampop-like synth tones and the repetition of relatively few guitar notes to create a layer of sounds that are as soothing as they are somber. 'He Holds a Flame' is a fairly upbeat song dealing with a post-relationship friendship and a plea to remember that the love is still there. 'I Could Be Wrong' is a slower paced apology to a former lover and a promise to change if the person comes back. 'William Blake' and 'Come Rest Your Weary Head' continue the dream like, introspective feeling. Anyone who has loved, lost and longed can understand the feelings expressed in these songs. And while it would be easy to knock him for staying in these familiar waters for so long, Howard crafts such fine songs that it would be like knocking Stradivarius for making another violin.

Track Listing:-
1 He Holds a Flame
2 I Could Be Wrong
3 William Blake
4 He Holds a Flame (Longer)
5 Come Rest Your Weary Head

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