The Harrow is a dark dream pop/post-punk quartet from Brooklyn. The band’s name is taken from a torture device in a short story by Franz Kafka called “In The Penal Colony”. I highly recommend reading that story here. The band’s sound is inspired by Pornography-era The Cure and Garlands and Head Over Heels era Cocteau Twins. The magnificently dark but beautiful UK gloom of 1982. Even today’s song title evokes early Cocteaus.
I wrote about The Harrow here early last year after the release of their 2013 self-titled EP. I expressed some anticipation over a full length album. It was indeed on the way, even if it’s taken a little bit longer than I hoped. The band will finally release their debut album Silhouettes via the Berlin-based label aufnahme + wiedergabe on November 6. There’s a lot of gloomy, dark synth pop, post-punk and goth on that label. I have my hands on an advance of the album, and I absolutely love it.
In late August, the label released today’s song as an advance single, with two non-album b-sides. You can shop for that here. Again, the song is really dank, like the crawlspace under a haunted mansion. And we love that. It’s also got some black-lit glow that draws us in from a different angle.
This is that song.
I can say the same thing I said last February when I wrote about “Milk and Honey”. Everything reminds me of early Cocteaus. Everything. From the programmed drums to the bass to the guitar effects to the vocal effects. To some extent, Vanessa Irena’s voice is like that of Liz Frazer. At least on the first two Cocteaus records, before Frazer dropped the gothy quality in her voice in favor of the angelic quality on the later records.
There’s also a really fantastic video for the song, which was released a couple of weeks ago. When you watch this, it’s sort of essential that you watch it in a darkened room. “Lights turned off” won’t be good enough. You’ll want the room to be totally darkened. You’ll see why.
I love that the video is in black & white. It adds to the mystery of it. It plays like a psychological horror film. The kind with a haunted/cursed house and a stubborn homeowner and/or some curious kids who get in way over their heads.
There’s no pre-order yet for the album, but you can keep checking back to their website and follow their social media pages for details as they emerge.