Published Sep 26, 2014Australian pop/R&B/soul four-piece the Harpoons made quite the splash, and rightfully so, when they released "Unforgettable" earlier this year in April, with their first single being called "tantalizing" and a revelation, all while catching the attention of publications worldwide. Half a year later and it's still the most interesting part of their debut album, Falling For You, offering but a glimpse of the band's potential. Unfortunately, the album goes downhill fast as soon as its title track kicks off in second position, highlighting all of its weaknesses: difficulties in building strong melodies, lyrics and vocals that are too forthright for their own good and a lack of mystery and conviction in their sound.
They often rely on classic soul and doo-wop with too little of them infused, like children playing grown up; Bec Rigby's vocals veer far too often in Erykah Badu territory, without the gravitas to pull it off sincerely and instead coming off as a pale imitation. With most tracks clocking in at under four minutes, there's a severe lack of punch, with the album blending into itself, not to make a cohesive whole, but more of a blurred pastiche of ideas and influences. More than once throughout its short 37 minutes, Falling For You feels like listening to a wedding cover band, albeit a very talented one.
The band have everything at their disposal to make a great album, but unfortunately seem to lack the ambition to do so. With so much emphasis on their harmonies, it's disheartening to see them avoid taking a chance and making something interesting with them above simply showcasing their ability to do so. The album is so safe that it often recalls the disappointment felt listening to Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience, bland with sudden hints of and bursts of brilliance. Case in point: the last 30 seconds of "Hold On A Minute" recall everything interesting about "Unforgettable," hinting at the song and the album's potential. All the pieces are here; let's hope they figure out how to make them into something more interesting in the future (Two Bright Lakes)