For Ladies who rock, we salute you
There has never been a great deal of credible ladies in rock. Sure we've had the cool iciness of Blondie, the balls out rockiness of Joan Jett, and the outspokenness of Shirley Manson, but there have not been many ladies of recent merit fronting rock bands who can rival their male counterparts. That is until now....
After springing to the attention of a certain Mary-Anne Hobbs during her Radio One Rock Show stint, Harpies, then unsigned, gained every struggling band's dream: airplay on a national radio network. After the release of their first album 'Bleed, Believe' in 2004 and some heavy touring duty, Harpies have made quite a name for themselves on the rock circuit and their latest offering doesn't disappoint.
'Lily Wry' is a bold effort. Any indication of this being one of those difficult second album doesn't seem to be present here. Powerful, emotive and wholly interesting, this is an impressive album: hard enough for the metallers but melodic enough to be accepted by a wide spectrum of listeners.
Opening with the crashing of waves and the calling of seagulls; a swell of guitars slowly rises above the seaside sounds and from there the listener is propelled directly into a violent squall of crushing guitars and crashing drums: an exhilarating, breathless intro. Echoes begins with slow driving guitars and whispery vocals and suddenly launches into a full, brutal vocal attack. This is something Harpies do incredibly well: mixing the melodic with the full on, balls to the floor, sails to the wind heaviness.
Singer Nicola Honey's voice is breathtakingly strong; with her ability to change her voice from sweeter than sweet one moment and then to step it up in the next moment with full on aggression and power is incredible. The intro of 'Men in Walls' showcases the soft, vulnerable sounding quality to her voice to perfection whilst 'Come Closer' reveals the palpable ferocity that Honey can propel at the listener at what seems at time, with all the force of a fist to the face.
'Lily Wry' is not a rock by numbers record: this is an album which combines the melodic sensibilities of bands like Mogwai but teams it with the heavier aspects of bands such as Sikth and Cult of Luna. After ten years of hard work and toil, it's about time that this quintet really takes off and certainly time that more girls take Honey's lead.