Leo Harmonay – Lharmonic

URL: http://www.lharmonic.com/

The seven songs on LHarmonic are a treasure for any listener already familiar with Leo Harmonay’s music and an excellent, broad-based introduction to his talents for those who aren’t. There’s even a live song added as a bonus track to show the full breadth of his talents and it makes for a striking contrast with the mood and tenor of the studio recordings – one can easily transpose their experiences and imagine what his new songs would sound like onstage. Harmonay’s previous two studio releases gave a seemingly full accounting of his potential, but LHarmonic expands on it with a collection showing his poetic talents are more focused and evocative than ever before while their musical vehicles, never treated as an afterthought, are more involved while still retaining the same level of taste distinguishing his earlier work. LHarmonic is truly the work of an individualist and the musical merits of the material shine through on each cut.

Those merits are obvious from the beginning as “Shine on You” effortlessly brings listeners into LHarmonic’s musical world. It’s one of the EP’s more pleasing moments to hear the steady roll of Harmonay’s singing come across without ever overstating the lyrics or his vocal presence and the music, lit up with some great honkytonk guitar licks, is the crowning touch on a memorable opener. “Deep Ocean Blue” illustrates his light, discerning touch with a lyric and how his vocals often enhance his words to create an appealing synthesis. The dense musicality of the song, surprising in some ways, is leavened by the addition of some stunning lead guitar lines. “Heart Alone” comes at listeners in a very different way with its more patient development, the largely solo nature of the performance, and the darker imagery running through its lyric. It’s a vocal, however, that never entirely succumbs to despair and has the same melodic strengths characterizing the first two songs, albeit laid out in a different way.

“Glorious Decline” shows much more overt stylishness than any of the earlier numbers, but the atmospherics aren’t in vain as the considered guitar playing and aching harmony vocals help get over on of LHarmonic’s best lyrics. The strong title is served well by an equally inspired lyrics and Harmonay’s singing is among his most effective vocals on the release. “Rainbow Sounds” has a more artful, less obvious vocal that syncs up quite well with the different musical look Harmonay gives us with this track. It’s a shorter song than the preceding two numbers, but there’s more than enough time here for Harmonay to get his musical ideas over with listeners. The reprise of “Shine on You” that finishes the studio portion of LHarmonic is lengthier than the EP opener and Harmonay makes excellent use of the extended time without ever displacing the status of his first performance. It’s a highly appropriate ending for Harmonay’s studio EP. The live performance of “Deep Ocean Blue” included with LHarmonic as a bonus song is a worthwhile addition, a little shorter than the studio performance, but every bit as substantive. LHarmonic is a winner from the first and maintains its excellence through its conclusion.

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Joshua Stryde