Harem Scarem – United Review

Released by: Frontiers Records

Release Date: May 12th, 2017

Genre: Rock

Links: http://www.haremscarem.net/

 

Line Up:

Harry Hess lead vocals, guitar; Pete Lesperance lead guitar, Stan Miczek bass guitar, Darren Smith background vocals, Creighton Doane drums

 

Tracklist:

01 United
02 Here Today Gone Tomorrow
03 Gravity
04 Sinking Ship
05 One Of Life’s Mysteries
06 No Regrets
07 Bite The Bullet
08 Things I Know
09 The Sky Is Falling
10 Heaven And Earth
11 Indestructible

 

One would imagine after 30 years of playing together and just about that long releasing music that a band would be scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with new material. Seriously, look at some bands that have been doing it so long and release a sporadic new album from time to time that never live up to that bands legacy and rely more on their classic back catalog than new material. It’s a lot. So for a band like Harem Scarem to have reached this epoch in their musical journey and to have quite possibly surpassed even their astounding greatness, that is saying something. Upon their triumphant return in 2013 with three new tracks and a re-recorded version of their classic Mood Swings, the band has been on fire. Their first proper reunion album simply entitled “Thirteen” showed the band fully returned to form and showing no signs of slowing down. Frontiers is now releasing their 14th official studio album, and I don’t think I’m out of line to say this is possibly the best album they have created yet.

United is chock full of everything that has made me a devoted fan of the guys for 20 years now: brilliant guitar work, powerful vocals, and amazingly melodic and catchy songs. The thing is- they’ve always delivered in this area, even when they got a little darker, and even when they changed their name to Rubber, however with United the team of Hess/Lesperance have taken all of these highlights of the Harem Scarem legacy and injected it with so much more. Sadly, the band has struggled through their entire career trying to achieve that level of superstardom that the quality of their music so richly deserves, but this album feels like they’ve pulled all the stops and put all of their heart, soul, and passion into it. From the building intro of album opener “United” to the down home Southern styled opening into the powerfully inspirational power Pop of “Indestructible” the songs are absolutely on point. One of the most affecting things about Harem Scarem for me has always been their quirky lyrics with that tongue-in-cheek positivity veiled in an “every man” perspective of “shit happens, but I’ll persevere.” For instance on my personal favorite of this album, “Sinking Ship,” the line “I’m gonna stand my ground on a sinking ship,” totally spoke to me. For me, most of my life has been a sinking ship, yet I have gripped to it tenaciously, never once giving up.

Everything about United is top notch. As a writer, I couldn’t have asked for an easier album to write about, which was a good thing because I have been on a hiatus for a bit now (and may still be,) so the songs contained were so stellar I had to say something. As a fan for so long, this is the penultimate Harem Scarem release…thus far. I gave up years ago “worrying” about their ability to follow-up their prior release, so despite me feeling like this is probably their best album ever, I bet the next one will go to yet another level. As far as I’m concerned, this will be a tough one to top for Album of the Year. If you’ve loved these guys as much as I have, this is one is amazing. If you’ve been curious about these guys, this is one to grab pronto.

 

Rating: 10/10

Written by: Chris Martin

 

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