HARKNESS is a beautiful musical enigma wrapped up inside a conundrum wrapped inside a rather fetching, actuellement, mask and gown; from within which couture he has a very personal line in sounds for the topsy-turvy world we’re somehow tasked with navigating right now.
Having honed his craft quietly away from the spotlight for a decade or more, he’s finally decided to unveil his beautiful baroque pop to the world; the songs underpinned by empathy, intimacy, love and a helluva way with an arrangement.
When asked why the time felt right to invite us into his musical world, Harkness explained: “After writing and recording for a long time I was finally able to really tap into the very core of my being.
“Throughout the recording process I have had to overcome many personal struggles, and as the world today appears to have incredible challenges ahead, I feel the time is right for the spirit of this music.”
We’ve got his latest single, “Moon Spell”, for you below: you’d be steely soul not to be moved by a widescreen plea from the soul that harks back to Todd Rundgren, Pet Sounds, The Millennium, The Left Banke, Plush, layered and glorious, scalded with brass and intricate of harmony.
It’s the second single taken from his debut album, The Occasion, following the title track at the beginning of last month, and is intended to reflect our gradual awakening from the hex the planet has been caught in since the emergence of the virus: “Some other day we’ll wake our world from slumber,” he yearns. The accompanying video also alludes to the pandemic, with the protagonist wearing a bird beak mask that some doctors were known to wear during the Spanish flu and the Plague.
Why the get-up – the visor and gown? Harkness says it results from a profound and life-changing experience in his twenties, during which he “was shown what appeared to be the blissful advantages of leading an imageless life.”
But now is the time for him to bring his music to the world. “I hope that while listening to these songs people at once feel the urgency and desperation of our time, but are inspired and emotionally moved enough to take steps in their own life to help improve our collective world,” he says.
And as a further gesture of empathetic musical magnanimity, you can have a taster and stream the entire album over at his Bandcamp page, right now. Fans of the beautiful and the grand and the very real shouldn’t spare the horses.
Harkness’ The Occasion will be released digitally and on vinyl by Windchild Records on August 13th; connect with Harkness on Instagram.