What we call random are just patterns we cannot decipher… What we call nonsense are just patterns we don’t understand…
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Leo Harmonay kicks off this album in a deeply thoughtful and calming way, later continuing to dig deep into poetic reflections and musical warmth by means of an array of enjoyable hits.
Patterns is a beautiful song, a classic feeling piece yet with a mildly alternative, slightly Ani DiFranco vibe to the melodic development. There’s a conversational style to the verses, and this leads well towards the ultimately simple and memorable resolve of the hook. In the meantime, the classic and organic musicality that is Leo Harmonay’s musical style fills the room in a quickly soothing and likable way. A great start to an album that consistently gets you pondering the intricacies of life in a new and refreshing manner.
As things progress, Leo delves into a number of topics, showcasing an artist with a broad range of interests and inspirations, as well as a notably clever and artistic way with expression. Labour Day is all of this, gorgeous again and building up beautifully around you. Then Best Mistake afterwards is quite stunning – blissful acoustic guitar work lays out a gentle Americana ambiance, which supports the sudden passion and detailed imagery of Leo’s performance perfectly well. A definite early highlight and a personal favourite.
Arrangement wise, this playlist holds your attention and affection brilliantly. Lucky Guess hits with the likable swagger and bounce of a late-night folk-rock classic – though with a notably soulful and intimate essence. Fantastic songwriting, something we already knew about Leo Harmonay but that shines in a whole new way throughout this album.
Contours sees Leo get somewhat candid and personal in a more specific way than seemed to show itself before. The delicacy of the acoustic set-up suits this moment well, and again highlights the artist’s understanding of the importance of arrangement. His voice progresses to seduce and captivate wonderfully here. Another highlight, slowly but surely enveloping the listener in a powerful moment of emotion and painfully relevant poetic observations.
The Ballad Of The Unknown River Driver adds a touch of country story-telling that feels immediately nostalgic – the banjo, the imagery, the harmonies. Then Broken Cup works to reignite a spark of optimism, musically, and overcomes that melancholic moment with something a little fuller and warmer.
Towards the end of the project, Enlia features and leads with softly expressive vocals on the considerate and intriguing Lost Summer. Then things get switched up a few levels as the album’s title track kicks in – high energy, fast acoustic strums and flickers of electric solo help remind you that a live show is ultimately where these songs would really come alive.
Bringing things to a decidedly thoughtful finish, ending the album in a similar manner to which it began, You And The Sun is a sensational piece of music and writing. Gentle and mellow by nature, but decidedly big seeming overall – the sentiment and the way the chords and the melody unite helps build a sense of oneness, of vastness and possibility. A song well worth hearing a few times over – it brings through a classically impressive and immersive style of songwriting that seems all but gone from much of modern mainstream music.
Leo Harmonay writes and performs because it’s simply a part of who he is – you can hear this, and you can feel it, throughout Naked Rivers and indeed throughout all of his music to date. Always an artist worthy of a listener’s trust. A lovely new album, a pleasure to have play for you.