Advertisement

Album Review: Har-di-Har — we will will you


Har-di-Har

we will will you
www.hardihar.com/

When Julie and Andrew Thoreen, formerly of Cedar Falls, started work on their newest (and first full length) album as Har-di-Har, we will will you, it was on the heels of an uncertain time in their lives both as a band and as a married couple. In their press release, they say the songs were written during a “season of separation.”

But, uniquely, the album isn’t about their separation as couple and band but rather the subtly uncharted part where they consider coming back from it. The band goes on to describe the album as a record that “invites us into the process of re-commitment.”

What Har-di-Har has created is an impressionistic, emotions-laid-bare illustration of the mental wrestling about coming back together. The lyrics and vocals move between cautious optimism and doubt. In “It Held Me,” Julie sings: “Once/you held me/made me greater than what I thought and/you don’t know it.” In “We Must Stand Up,” Andrew sings: “My friend/our knuckles/are bound together.”

You can let the music wash over you or can lean into it, focusing on the fancifully fussy assembly of the songs. The textures of horns, keyboards and bass guitar supporting close harmonies at times recalls Stereolab’s Dots and Loops. The foundation of ticking percussion—looping, repeating, building and disintegrating—artfully captures the occasional disorientation of doubt. Songs break down into two or three parts and then build back up into many layers. There’s a lot going on upon close inspection.

Do Har-di-Har make it? Are these hymns to healing or a parting psalm?

The answer may lie in the finale, “A Love Movement,” which sounds like a Brian Wilson outtake, capturing the beautiful longing of “Surf’s Up.” Spare tinkling piano, washes of horns and distortion; their soaring vocals building and swirling together: “This is what we’ve longed for in friendship.”

Har-di-Har came back together and, in sharing their personal conflict, created a concise and masterfully crafted record with we will will you—one that sets the bar high for their future releases.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 230.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

40 Years Forward:

A Celebration of Empowerment & Hope

Deb Talan of "The Weepies" will begin our night of celebration with a story of survival, empowerment, and hope told through words and song. Join us in remembering our past and envisioning the future at the Coralville Mariott.

GET TICKETS

Friday, September 20 at 7:30 p.m.

For 18 years...

Little Village has been telling the truth and changing our little corner of the world.

If you can, help us head into the next 18 years even stronger with a one-time or monthly contribution of $18, or any amount you choose.

Advertisement

A collaboration between The Englert Theatre and FilmScene

STRENGTHEN
GROW•EVOLVE

Help us build the greatest small city for the arts in America—right here in Iowa City. Learn more »

Donate Today

Strengthen • Grow • Evolve is a collaborative campaign led by two Iowa City-based arts nonprofits, The Englert Theatre and FilmScene that seeks a major reinvestment to strengthen the arts through modern and historic venues, innovative programming, and new models of collaboration.

Little Village's
BEST OF THE CRANDIC

From Aug. 1-Sept. 30, cast your vote for your favorite places, people, eats and entertainment around the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City area.

Don't forget to explain your picks! The best answers will be published in LV's Best of the CRANDIC issue, out Dec. 3, 2019.