Harry Harris – I Feel Drunk All the Time
Harry Harris' new album I Feel Drunk All the Time is full of ambitious songwriting, and covering a lot of ground, half the appeal is not knowing what’s round the next corner
Originally from Wales but based in Edinburgh, Harry Harris is a skilled songwriter with an eye for the universal amongst the mundane. I Feel Drunk All the Time is his most varied record yet, moving from jaunty road trip Americana on Memphis to intimate fiddle, vocals and smudged fingers on guitar strings on the hushed Bloodletting; opener Marathon sounds like Counting Crows if they took up long distance running, while the green-fingered Making a Go of This finds solace and purpose in simple pleasures.
The aforementioned Memphis has one of the best couplets of the year – 'I never sat in a pew thinking something might happen / But the light through the stained glass made brilliant patterns' – and a loveably kitsch sax solo. Roses rails against 'cunts in the city' and the death of the high street over carefully weighted piano chords, like Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi but for precarious millennials still living with the aftershock of the financial crisis.
At the centre of the record the title track looms large, swelling from spacious, almost jazzy chords into an uplifting swell of massed vocals. It’s a hugely ambitious piece of songwriting, weaving out of the ground at the very heart of the record but a talented band – comprised of Robin Brill, Al Shields, Pedro Cameron, Rosie Bans, Angus Munro and Martha Ffion – stick the landing, opening the gate to the second half of the album.
Things John Hated is a loving tribute to a lost friend that etches a heartbreaking but uplifting pen portrait; capturing tiny details like the overspill of noise from a football stadium. All My Worst Ideas offers a final rousing singalong before Reindeers brings things to a more restrained close.
I Feel Drunk All the Time covers a lot of ground but half the appeal is in not knowing what’s round the next corner. If only every songwriter were prepared to be so ambitious.
Listen to: Memphis, All My Worst Ideas