Album review by Captain Stavros
Reviewing music is a lot harder than being a food critic, in some respects. With a bite of food the taste is instant, palpable or barf. A meal doesn’t start off bad and then get better, but music often does. The hard part about music is having to wait it out to see if it’ll get any better, or if it’s calories without the sugar. Both have their redeeming qualities; you can recommend a good place to grab a bite or an album to a friend. A great way to climb the social ladder or maintain the façade that you are indeed a functional and contributing member to a society. The flip side is a warning to steer clear and that’s where our critics, food, music or otherwise, should be considered capeless heroes. I’m only on track one of Harkin’s banal Honeymoon Suite and I already want a divorce. Or, at the very least, a few choice words with the Chef.
Harkin’s puff popish and loosely self-reflexive tunes are hard to identify with, let alone enjoy. The sophomoric lyrics about ‘A New Day’ and drinking at the river, you know what they say about leading a listener away from music, you can warn them but you can’t make’m think. It’s an exceptionally self-indulgent and shallow compilation of tone deaf tracks, which comes as quite a surprise.
Harkin’s wife is a poet! A wordsmith at your very fingertips, what gives? She could’ve at least have proofed the following gems.
‘Matchless Lightning’: “Like a fly in the ointment/Give me the Streets of Leeds/I know a thing about do what you want to do, leave when you have to”.
This song seems especially clunky from the drum/beat machines to the overlaying vocals, it really sounds like Harkin wasn’t hearing what she was singing to.
‘Mt Merino’: “Oh, the sunniest day, the ancient part of my life tells me everything is alright”.
Fuck me, heed my warning because I want to fucking die by this point. The mis-matched, and thrown together, lyrics are the worst of it to be sure, but even the accompanying instruments, slide guitar and beat/drum machines? It’s an Art School submission after a night on bath salts.
This album is a shift in revenue streams from solo work which is seemingly unearned compensation by Harkin. Preferring collaborative works with heavy hitters like Sleater-Kinney, Wild Beasts, Flock of Dimes, Kurt Vile, Courtney Barnett and Waxahatchee’ likely prop her up rather than Harkin contributing. It is sincerely fascinating that someone can retain so little could produce even less when copying their homework directly from the answers in the back of the book.
Honeymoon Suite is a memorable album but for all the wrong reasons, like a carton of milk that’s gone off, it comes out in clumps, and stinks.