Harp and Lyre - Clumsy Architects
Record Label: Alliance Music Management
Release Date: October 12, 2010
Harp and Lyre are a band taking an overdone formula on a different path. In a very basic sense, they are a metalcore band with southern elements, Christian lyrics, and a keyboard. This may sound like too many bands you know right now, but what they are doing is pretty different from what the rest of the pack are doing. With the raw production as opposed to the over-produced norm, lyrics that tell a story, more riffs than breakdowns, and very good use of keys to add to certain parts, but not overpowering the overall sound. The result is the ferocious Clumsy Architects EP, which builds on a would-be stale sound with a lot of different elements.
The album starts off quickly, with three powerful fast-paced tracks, each full of ETID-esque riffs, unique song structures, and some very skillful piano playing. One of the things I like most about this band is the use of keyboard that sounds like piano instead of synth. It really fits the mood perfectly, even sounding like something that would be played in a stereotypical saloon at times. There are breakdowns, there are softer parts with some clean vocals, but the majority of the album is a combination of riffs and screams. Its only five songs, which keeps the sound from getting boring, but they are always moving into something new, rarely repeating themselves, and experimenting with a lot of different variations on their standard sound. Each songs goes in a lot of different directions, with quick transitions, showing just how many different ways they can play this style of music.
The last two songs are at a slower pace, especially the fourth track, “This is Giving Up”, which features a lot of ambient guitar work and even some post-rock elements. The vocalist really shines here, passionately singing/screaming/yelling, at times sounding like Adam Vass of La Dispute. Clean vocals are not his strong point, but they are passable, and his voice fits the mood of the songs. There are Christian messages here, mostly about struggling in a world of a sin, as opposed to just preaching. There are no choruses on this EP, and only are a few instances of hooks used, so most of the lyrics flow with the many changes in the songs, never totally going back to an earlier part, but never straying too far away from the overall feel of the song. The vocals here have the tendency to blend in with the background, rarely standing out, which may sometimes prevent the message from getting heard by the casual listener.
Bottom line here: this is solid. This is better than most metalcore bands out there right now. I think most of these songs are an improvement from their last EP. Its more chaotic, raw, and a definite step forward for Harp and Lyre as a band. They have a lot of potential as a band at this point. They don't have the most original sound, but they are doing what they do well, and should only improve as they grow as a band.You should be hearing a lot more from these guys as they continue to make a name for themselves. Nothing groundbreaking, but a step up from the standard bands of this genre.