For those of you who are fans of The Kite String Tangle, aka Danny Harley, you’ve probably spent the last three years hitting refresh on news feeds; desperately hoping for a sign of life from the triple-threat producer, vocalist and songwriter. Thankfully, he popped back on the scene earlier this year with atmospheric single ‘Selfish’ along with the news that he had launched his own label, Exist Recordings. As if that wasn’t enough, overachiever Harley also blessed us with news of an upcoming debut album. For those eagerly awaiting fresh tracks, this announcement couldn’t have come at a better time.
I first heard from The Kite String Tangle back in 2013 when Harley released ‘Given The Chance’, an infectious electronic pop song that came in at number 19 in triple j Hottest 100 before reaching gold status in Australia. He followed up with a string (pun intended) of beautiful tracks including ‘Arcadia’, ‘Commotion’ and ‘What If’.
Sadly, a debut album failed to materialise and the world of sleepy electronica was left a little darker. As it turns out, Harley was simply playing the long game, and it paid off. His debut album is an eleven track delight filled with melancholy vocals, danceable beats and a mishmash of horns, brass and live drums.
It’s an album that will give you something different after each listen. You’ll spend the first few songs marvelling at his skills as a producer, and the final few envious of his haunting vocals. Some of my favourites included ‘This Thing We Got’, which had me dancing in the shower while pretending to play the trumpet. And ‘Know By Now’, a reflective track that strips back the production in order to feature Harley’s vocals. First released single ‘Selfish’ is another gem that fuses a toe-tappingly good beat with soulful ruminations on lost love. While ‘The Prize’ borrows the beautiful voice of Bridgette Amofah, lifting the song into something greater than a standard electro-pop track.
Each song offers something different, however, it’s when you listen to the album in its entirety that you truly appreciate the mastery of Danny Harley and his unique skills as a producer and songwriter. This is an album that moves seamlessly between tracks; one moment I was kicking my socks off during a vigorous beat drop, the next I was wiping away tears as his reflections on lost love kicked me in the feels.
Despite the beautifully layered songs on this album, I found I was holding my breath before hitting play on each track, hoping for another ‘Given The Chance’. Maybe I’m just being nostalgic, or maybe I’m putting too much emphasis on his earlier work, but for me, a standout tune like that was the one thing missing from this collection of lush, alternative electro.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter, because overall the album is a standout for me. He has created an eleven track masterpiece, each song held together with beautiful vocals and topped off with seamless production. This album is a beautifully crafted collection of atmospheric songs that do not disappoint and was well worth the wait.