The Harvey Girls – I’ve Been Watching A Lot of Horror Movies Lately

The Harvey Girls - I've Been Watching A Lot of Horror Movies Lately

The title isn’t just some off-hand admission of the consequences of boredom driving a man to watch reel after reel of predictable film but rather a probable process that led to the creation of this weird and sometimes wonderful album. The Harvey Girls connection to the horror genre has got nothing to do with serial killers or shrieking, reluctant heroines, but more the time-weathered resident who warns those naive teens away from the old whatever place, whilst inexplicably continuing his business practices there despite the obvious obstacles to be had living in the same neighbourhood as psychopaths.

Still, that’s not what’s up for debate here. The Harvey Girls are much more exciting and surprising than any horror film, possibly. They offset normal folk-country sounds with deathly groaning and rattling, lending a consistently dark and menacing atmosphere to everything. The first song, apparently emotionlessly detailing a grisly discovery of a mutilated body is disorientating for the frenetic guitar and lots of hard to track movements. As guitars slide in and out of focus amidst injections of ambient noise, horses gallop and snort; put your hands out and make sure you’re still where you think you are. There is a distinctly desert feel to the opening few songs, as if it were inspired by travelling aimlessly towards nightfall, increasingly unsettled by random noises.

The atmosphere is toned down somewhat as the album progresses and for the most part this is fairly downbeat, apathetic low-fi guitar pop. The production always helps the music seem more expansive than it is and there usually appears to be elements at work that create always interesting music. The album does tend to stay in fairly low gears which can be testing unless you’re willing to lie back, close your eyes and try and imagine the scenes the music tries to imitate. It’s short of any real classic single material but as a whole it is an intense album which very successfully attempts to create ambience that suits the mood of the music, and very worthwhile for that too.