Brisbane’s Morning Harvey are perhaps best known for their swaggering live shows, and it was the desire to play live music that first brought the band together in 2011. After a few lineup changes Morning Harvey have now settled into their current incarnation as a four piece and as such they began recording in 2013 for their new love&loveand EP (released July 2015).
Driven by a love of playing live, the motley crew of Morning Harvey deliver the goods on love&loveand, indie rock that revels in being unpredictable.
Initially formed by charismatic frontman Spencer White, today’s lineup is drawn from the cream of the Brisbane scene, with White joined by brother Jack, Lewis Stephenson (Moses Gunn Collective, Furrs, Orphans Orphans, The Belligerents) and Steve Kempnich (also of Orphans Orphans and formerly Millions and Last Dinosaurs). And while Morning Harvey may have taken a few years to find their feet, it seems that it was worth the wait.
Commenting on the band’s formation, Spencer White admits that “When we first started back in 2011 we really just wanted to play live, we were all quite envious of some of our friends who were doing quite well at the time and writing incredible music”. You get the feeling that the simple desire to make great music, and play it out live, is still what drives Morning Harvey.
With an unconcern that is unusual in the technological age, the band appear to have addressed the writing and recording process with a simplicity belied by the end result. Working from songs written on acoustic guitar, and digitising demos, the tracks for love&loveand were recorded by the band and then handed over to producer Magoo, who according to White “Made them sound incredible. He’s a master at what he does”.
love&loveand is five tracks of beautifully crafted indie rock washed through with the sonic flamboyance of 80’s alt rock and retro mod sounds. Though how considered those influences were during the writing process, it’s hard to tell. White is more than happy for everyone to form their own interpretations around the band’s output, and the songs are first and foremost his own expression.
The EP ranges between alt rock, Stone Roses sounding riffs in opener Pinch Me Velvet and lead single Smith Street Swap Meet, and psych-tinged 60’s tones in later tracks T.I.D.E and Girl Euphoria (Come Back To Me). A nod to White’s own flair for theatrics, each track has definite intro and outro; the whole production opens with an ambience and stand-alone riff leading into the softly triumphant Pinch Me Velvet. Chord progressions and cymbal heavy percussion feel distinctly alt rock, but the layered vocals have something of the psychedelic. The same could be said for Smith Street Swap Meet, with soaring synths behind the drums and a guitar solo that descends into a real 80’s shimmer, fading out into sheer atmosphere.
As love&loveand progresses, the psychedelic element is more pronounced. The sluggish T.I.D.E calls up bands like Black Angels in it’s slow paced concentration. Not quite leaving latter decades behind, this track has an almost Beta Band feel to it and is a neat segue into a slightly different pace. Girl Euphoria (Come Back To Me) is perhaps the deepest descent into psych with a fuzzed out intro and hypnotic melodies. Heavily reverbed vocals are slightly lost in the blur. Electric guitar noodles behind lyrical repetition before breaking out into a vaguely wailing solo, ending on a thrashed out chord that devolves into a laser, space age effect.
Final track Quince is firmly planted on a grungy acoustic guitar riff, building layers of electric sounds onto the backdrop and neatly tying everything together. It’s not a resounding climax by any means, more the coalescence of everything that came before. Strongly channelling shoegaze in this one, Morning Harvey have you gripped by this point – though you’re not entirely sure how. Strangely stripping back to an 8-bit style ending, the last word is actually a fade out synth which has an almost glam feel, slyly sending two fingers up at everything you thought you’d learnt about Morning Harvey throughout those five tracks.