‘hum’ by David Harrison


Reviews of Original ‘hum’ album

Sea of Tranquility

Inspired by Nick Drake, singer/songwriter David Harrison is creating a stir in his native Liverpool – and it’s easy to hear why on his debut, Hum. His dusty vocals set against pretty, laid-back soundscapes often consisting of little more than acoustic guitars and minimal programming, effectively create alternatiing musical moods via catchy tunes like “Lost in the Ocean” and “Luminous Circles” and more-reflective pieces such as “Maganda Khar” and “Megan.” Elsewhere, “It’s Not Your Scene” and “She Loves the Sun” outright (and unexpectedly) rock, and “Lucky Clover” boasts a progressive flute arrangement that reveals Harrison’s prog and psychedelic influences. When Harrison is not taking an overtly direct lyrical approach, as he does on “Get Out of My Hair,” Hum wallows in sort of an eerie and mysterious otherworld that may appeal to fans of softer progressive music who favor structure over experimentation. Spin this one during some of your quieter moments; for better or for worse, it’s guaranteed to alter your mood. – Michael Poke, Sea of Tranquility

Julian Cope Presents Head Heritage

David Harrison’s ‘hum’ is the latest album to be released by the legendary Liverpool based Probe Plus ‘indie’ label, run by one of Julian Cope’s old mates Geoff Davies (bands on this label include the excellent Half Man Half Biscuit). Harrison appears to be selling himself as a singer/songwriter (Nick Drake/Roy Harper style) but though his album captures the acoustic mood of these artists on some songs (like ‘Beautiful Miss America’ and ‘Megan’), tracks such as the swirly opener ‘Luminous Circles’ and the pounding ‘She Loves the Sun’ give way to more lighter psychedelic influences, the former bringing to mind (dare I say it) something off the Teardrop’s Wilder album, while the later would fit comfortably on one of those excellent late 60’s Garage compilations (you know the ones – filled with great music by bands you’v never heard of!).

Indeed, Harrison is just like those mysterious bands, it’s hard to find information on him, but the music is intriguing. For example, on various websites he describes his music as the result of tapping into some kind of universal ‘hum’ left over from the big bang, and this (according to him) is the secret to obtaining music! This theory seems to be displayed on the closing track ‘hum’ which resonates radio noise as sampled voices are heard discussing the ‘sound’ of the sun in the background! The album then ends were it begins; with the hum which leads into the opening track – making the CD a kind of bizarre concept album.

The songs presented here do work well though, with the funky ‘Fallen Soldier’ throwing various sounds at the listener, including haunting sitar and a meaty 70’s wah wah riff. This song flows out of the oriental sounding ‘Maganda Khar’ which is a feast of acoustic guitar. Other highlights include the laid back ‘Lost in The Ocean’ and ‘Herbal Woman’, the later featuring an excellent harmonica riff which pierces through the acoustic guitar.

In all its a nice album, and whoever Harrison is, I hope he continues to tap into the hum! – Pezza, Julian Cope Presents Head Heritage

Dutch Progressive Rock Page

David Harrison is a Liverpool-based singer songwriter inspired by progressive and folk influences. He cites bands such as The Misunderstood and High Tide as reference points although his own music isn’t quite in the same style of the psychedelic guitar fests of the mentioned bands. Instead, the material is, to use his words, more “vibrant and melodic”. Essentially, Harrison accompanies himself on 12 and 6 string acoustic guitar throughout, although the sound is filled out, where appropriate, by programmed drums and string arrangements and by guest musicians Karl Mcabe (flute), Mark Struthers (lead electric guitar) and Adam Speakman (bass).

Opening track Luminous Circles sets the tone with a fine melody and lush string arrangement. Quite a captivating track that, at under three minutes, is only faulted by the fact that its ending is rather premature. It’s Not Your Scene is one of the two songs that feature electric guitar. Again a very catchy song that reminds me of a rather more restrained Playn Jayne (anyone remember them?!). Of the two versions of Get Out Of My Hair featured on the album, the second gets my vote as the more appealing of the two. Although the differences are minimal, the slower tempo, addition of a flute part and rather more laid back vocal of the revisited version makes it that little bit more interesting.

And speaking of laid back, Lost In The Ocean borders on ‘chill out’ music, with the focus on the vocals, a steady, slow beat and a repetitive three-note keyboard motif, this calm love song prove that often less really is more. Maganda Khar is held together by a strong chorus, which is fortunate as it seems that Harrison couldn’t quite get the rest of the song to match that level, exemplified by a weak ending. Sumatra Kamasutra adds to the mid album ‘lull’; I wasn’t quite sure where this song was going, the programmed drums did nothing for me and the lyrics didn’t grab me. Still, some nice harmonising towards the end.

Still, the lull is short-lived and thing pick up with Megan and Walkin’ On Water, which are the type of songs that Harrison seems to excel at, short, melodic and ‘simpler’ arrangements where the musical embellishments to the acoustic guitar are sympathetic and non-intrusive. However, with She Loves The Sun Harrison shows that he could handle being part of a band as this track has a fuller arrangement of electric and acoustic guitars, bass and drums. Not a band song either, the rockier aspect contrasting well with the previous numbers.

Last song is one of those rather annoying add-ons where the last tracked song (in this case Get Out Of My Hair II) continues in silence for a few minutes before another, untitled and un-credited song begins. Never know why artists do this, I find it a real pain. And in this case it is rather strange as the two additional tracks are actually my favourites on the album! Acoustic guitar and mellifluous flute with vocals that sound somewhat warmer than on other places on the album, the two songs are elegant in their simplicity and deserve more recognition than being tacked unheralded onto the end of the album.

Overall a decent enough effort and generally one for those quieter moods. Harrison shows a lot of promise and there is always room for one more musicians inspired by Nick Drake. – Mark Hughes, Dutch Progressive Rock Page

Arlequins, Italy

Songwriter from Liverpool, David Harrison, proposes in “Hum” a series of songs in which he shows his inclination towards a music class exposed with an air of decision, including ballads, healthy rock ‘n’ roll, psychedelic reminiscences and subtle influences of the old prog. Among pushed acoustic, electric outbursts, a dash of technology and melancholy are noticeable in all forty-five minutes of “Hum”, Harrison seems much to want to erect a “sad singer” of modern times, focusing a lot on his warm voice and the acoustic notes Guitar. The album is a collection of compositions of short duration that is both concise and dynamic. It starts with “Luminous circles”, dreamy pop-rock, and then continues with the reminiscences of a past of Beatles and Rolling Stones and transported to the present through “It’s not your scene” and the lively ballad “Get out of my hair “. Less successful attempts with “Lost in the ocean”, which you feel is more of pop rose water, “Lucky clover”, pleasant and delicate folk-rock, and then more of the melancholy songwriting with “Maganda khar” and “Megan”. Beautiful and haunting, a little in the style of Sylvian, “Sumatra Kama Sutra”, the song giving emotions, an acoustic guitar and vibrant, solemn and powerful rhythms holding it all. Also pleasant is “Beautiful Miss America”, supported by effective and vocal harmonies from a musical background where guitar and flute are experiencing so much softness. With “Walkin ‘on Water” and “She Loves the Sun” it is felt again that there is some uncertainty among various indecision over the choice to follow the charm of the past or the “cleaning” of a more modern sound. Three extra tracks bring alternative versions of equally effective and intriguing songs in a similar vein to that we have already heard. Through thick and thin the disk convinces halfway; and has the qualities to do well there, similar to Nick Drake… – Arlequins, Italy

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Purchase the album ‘hum’ on iTunes.

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