Homegrown harp harmonies for the chamber pop collective.
Often I wonder why so many singer-songwriters that craft out that melancholy vibe often stick to piano or guitar. The harp is a wonderful instrument and not many alternative musicians bring it to the fore. EllaHarp literally puts it in her name! The California based artist released her second album ‘Screaming into the Void’ last month and it’s a hidden gem for dreamy chamber folk.
What makes EllaHarp’s music so great is her ability to mix traditional folk ideas into something more individual. It could be the moody reflections of the title track or the bluesy slap and sway of ‘Bittersweet’, the music feels grounded in tradition whilst being alternative too. Part of this is down to EllaHarp’s layered vocals. She often has a hushed quieter layer of her vocals hiding under the main performance. It creates a numb, pillowed lullaby to her music and when the light synths sweep in too, it slots together perfectly.
With the voice and dreamy synth hues filling out the bottom end, it’s worth noting that the production of the harp is given a bit of a tight wiry sound. It doesn’t sound like it’s lacking power, it is just a bit twang attack heavy at times. Tracks like ‘Shotgun Sadie’ where the music is given more textures thanks to The False Bottom Band giving a desert twist on things fill out the sound wider and so this is less noticeable. It’s a minor quirk of recording a real harp as an indie artist. Where it lets EllaHarp excel is in how she creates atmospherics around her instrument. ‘Late Summer’ has a distant acoustic guitar strumming with a gusto that sounds like a raging lute. Distant guitar harmonics give a desolate feel to the track too. ‘Black Road’ turns the harp into more of a double bass sound and with a banjo alongside her, it sounds like a trail track for the lost. Almost all the percussion is made on the harp too which adds to the indie-folk feel of the album too.
In just over 25 minutes, the album gives a wonderful journey into tradition, blues and indie folk and it sounds like you are in the room with her. EllaHarp is a talented musician and songwriter. Her voice effortlessly carries sombre and reflective melodies, warming them up with her layered approach to creating a hushed choir around her. This will be one of your most surprising singer-songwriter folk albums of 2021.
Recommended track: Better
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