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Album: NATIVE HARROW - 'Closeness' (out 18 Sept, via Loose)

Watch the video for “Shake,” a buzzing, fuzzing rocker that explores the loneliness of anxiety and the sting of absence. Conceived, directed and shot by the band while in quarantine - with no previous filmmaking experience to their credit - it captures Native Harrow singer Devin Tuel awaiting dinner guests who never arrive, in the shine of an immaculately captured golden hour. “I dug myself out from the well to make Closeness, a record about love”, professes Tuel. “When I sat down to begin what would become Closeness I felt that above all, I wanted to make it clear that, while the clock is moving, we can hold onto one another and maybe there will be tears but there will also be laughter.” The songs on Closeness were recorded over two sessions; three December days in the dying light of 2019, and the first three new days of January 2020. Composed of takes that captured Tuel’s master vocals live in the room, guitar in hand, with Harms on bass and Hall on drums, the record expands upon this organic base with an array of orchestral flourishes and vintage keyboards that give the proceedings a classic sheen.  The result is a masterful collision of nostalgia and immediacy, a recombination of timeless influences performed with care and precision. Whether it’s the blissful chime of “Even Peace,” the hand-clap folk-soul of “If I Could,” or the sighing jazz of “Turn Turn,” Native Harrow exhibit an uncanny ability to elevate Tuel’s searching examinations of struggle, perseverance, solitude, and togetherness into an enveloping cocoon of sound and melody.  Closeness follows Native Harrow’s 2019 album Happier Now, which Paste called “timeless — its healing qualities shouldn’t be underestimated” and which Americana UK deemed “a captivating, almost mesmeric album of the highest quality.” In 2019 the duo toured extensively in the UK, and in the US with Great Lake Swimmers. While 2020 shows are on hold, they have rescheduled numerous European tours and festivals, including Black Deer and Deer Shed in the UK, for spring and summer 2021.

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Closeness, the fourth LP from Pennsylvania’s Native Harrow, elaborates on the duo’s radiant warmth and timeless nostalgia with the inclusion of new sounds and experiences. The combustible fuzz-driven opener “Shake” gives way to slices of 70s FM groove (“The Dying of Ages” and the desert funk of “If I Could”), 60s art pop (“Even Peace” and the expansive orchestral “Sun Queen”), and the kind of graceful folk (“Smoke Burns”) and folk soul (the compassionate conviction of “Carry On”) the band is best known for. The intricate polyrhythms and grinding Moog synthesizer (“Same Every Time”), the fully realized vintage jazz combo (“Turn Turn”), and the exquisite piano ballad (the penultimate “Feeling Blue”) provide glimpses down previously unexplored streets and find the band stretching out and confidently illuminating their expansive aspirations. 

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