Much as with Eddie Vedder’s ukulele musings, there’s often debate as to whether the somewhat-less-than-Heavy products of Rock stars deserve attention from the scene purely because of their purveyors’ status. Step forth Dane Kristian Harting, whose early Thrash / Noise tendencies are sacrificed in favour of a spiky, summery Americana.
There are moments of true beauty within Summer of Crush (Exile on Mainstream): the harmonies of opener ‘Traveller’ and ‘White Spirits’ touching the heart alongside Harting’s honeyed airs, the latter tracks squalling lead guitar adding a post-style crush to an acoustic riff which evokes those late ‘Hippy’ highs such as CSNY. ‘Temporary Rooms’ and ‘How High’ have a Country Pop twang, the vocal adding some real sunshine to worlds normally coated in a hellish darkness.
The insouciant chanting of the brief ‘I Am You 2’, fired by a pedal-affected riff which resonates through the instrumental ‘Spirits Revisited’, adds experimentation and atmosphere to a largely stripped-down sound. ‘Ship Of Fools’, meanwhile, sees those of us of a ‘bongo’ bent patted into ecstasy alongside a harsher yet still melodic vocal and more atmospheric organ, increasing to a euphoric crescendo in not dissimilar fashion to early 90s Rock adventurers Largo.
More hostile squealing punctures the fragile, sparing lilt of ‘Digging Up Graves’ and it’s here that one fully realises the level of creativity and skill on display. It would be easy for these brief flurries of Harting’s roots to stick out like sore thumbs and make a track ‘clunky’ by merely not belonging. Here, they have an organic meld like instant displays of emotion: the fizz of lead squalls in the hypnotic, dreamy ‘South North Passage’ epitomising the rude disturbance of a deep meditation, telling its story wonderfully.
The main feature is of course that light melody, reminiscent of late Beatles or Oasis in the penultimate ’Soul Sister’: an edgy, electro-brushed ballad which could be the final straw for some yet, for those of us who are capable of appreciating the softer things in life, the gathering of the most heavenly aspects of an album both delightfully enticing, and just barely Rock.