Harvey Pekar

Upward, Not Northward

Written by: PP on 22/12/2013 21:14:52

Hardcore as a genre is so saturated with similar sounding bands it's usually a discouraging affair to search for new, solid bands in the genre. Not so with Harvey Pekar from Cleveland, OH, whose debut album "Upward, Not Northward" attacks the genre in a wholly unusual manner compared to their contemporaries. Their experimental take on hardcore borrows elements from punk rock, emotional hardcore, and even post-hardcore in places to provide a complex, rich soundscape that offers far more depth than your typical testosterone driven hardcore record.

Lead by a throaty vocalist, whose closest comparison is found in Frank Carter back when he was fronting Gallows during their equally experimental and ahead-of-its-time sophomore record "Grey Britain", Harvey Pekar take us through dreamy, contemplative hardcore passages such as those found on "Blasé Babes", where parallels to the emotional hardcore scene are crystal clear. But they also regress back to the vitriolic rage and unpredictable vocal patterns of Paint It Black at their heaviest. A good example is album opener "Are We Not Mammals?", which immediately separates Harvey Pekar from their colleagues by utilizing an unusually slow and foreshadowing tempo, and right after we're thrown into the hardcore punk oriented "God Damn All Gentlemen", presenting two very different sounds that nonetheless sound very much like the same band behind the helms.

The throaty style, the subtle melodies found within the guitar lines, and the desire to constantly push the envelope of hardcore is what makes Harvey Pekar an interesting band to follow right now. For a debut album, "Upward, Not Northward" is an excellent statement of purpose for the band, and one that'll leave their future wide open as to which direction to pick. The hope is that they continue to evolve in a similar direction as Gallows did on "Grey Britain", because the hardcore scene needs a band willing to slow things down and experiment with the soundscape and approach to the style.

Download: Are We Not Mammals?, Blasé Babes, Junto,
For the fans of: Gallows, Paint It Black,
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.07.2013
Escapist Records

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