Album Review: The Harpoons – Amaro

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The wait is finally over – The Harpoons have dropped their sophomore album, Amaro. Each of The Harpoons’ three singles from Amaro has received plenty of praise and airtime, making this album highly anticipated. Four years between albums can be a risky move, but Amaro packs a bigger punch than their 2014 debut album, Falling For You, and was well worth the wait.

Since their first album, the band has honed their genre-splicing sound through further experimentation and delving deeper into their highly emotive electro and R&B sounds. The album opens with the soul-pop track, 'Pressure'. 'Pressure' sets the album up with an unmistakable Harpoons sound, euphonious drums and Bec Rigby’s soulful voice. Tackling similar themes of love and loss to their debut album, 'Pressure' makes for a remarkable opening track, strapping the listener in for the ride.

'Do You Want My Love', the lead single for the album, is a soaring piece of self-empowerment that Bec calls “an homage to assertive females who own the night and the swinging basslines that soundtrack those nights.”

It’s undeniable that The Harpoons are among the best at humanising your biggest insecurities when it comes to matters of love and friendship. Bec’s voice and lyrics talk to your very soul while the beat and catchy drums are playful and uplifting, which is heard to great effect in 'Set Me Up To Fall'.

The beats and musical arrangement bring just as much emotion and depth to each song as Bec’s voice, as demonstrated on 'Be In Your Love', and later in the album on 'Through The Water'. 'Be In Your Love' particularly has a soft smoky saxophone, and sensual vocals giving the song soft highlights and is a perfect example of what the band can do. As they say in the song:

“Sometimes no matter how much you love someone, you can’t access their inner life and they can’t be in yours. Sometimes your admiration for someone can even be the thing that stops you from being able to truly be on the same page. Sometimes someone’s pedestal separates them from you forever. This is sort of a rolling mantra of goodbye, a song of loss and separation, and realisation that reality and wanting don’t always overlap.”  

The next track 'Girl'  follows on from 'Do You Want My Love'. “This is Bec’s salute to all of the beautiful women in her life, written in a moment of deepest gratitude," say the band. “This is a love song for women who support their women to be the best versions of themselves, and remind them to always put themselves first.” Channelling 90s R&B vibes, 'Girl' takes listeners on a euphoric sway with its bassy groove and smooth harmonies of “We can dance all night”.

'Reassurance' sees a welcome revival of the band’s love for duets. Having performed a number of them on their first album, it was exciting to hear that they would still be a Harpoons staple. The band explore some different territory on this song, playfully combining neo-soul roots with a more club-heavy, UK garage sound. The connection to UK garage in 'Reassurance' is no coincidence, and the band spent a quarter of a year living in London, writing and recording: “This is our cute homage to UK garage, one of the deepest scenes of the naughties that went literally from broadcasting out of people’s garages on pirate radio in the UK, to sweeping the entire world.” The band did a great job of taking the UK garage sound and incorporating it in with their own blend of genres.

'All I’ve Ever Done' closes out the album with the soulful sounds of Martin King. This track shows a  different side to the band’s versatility and growth, stepping away from the electro/house stylings and stepping further into the pop and soul scene. It’s an important move for them to not get tied down to one sound or style and leaves the listener fulfilled while also excited to hear what’s next for the four-piece.

Amaro is a must listen for any fan of The Harpoons, and worth checking out if you’re only just hearing about them now for the first time.

Written by Alex Osborne