With but a cursory glance at his EP cover, young Toronto upstart Harrison already has his aesthetic locked down. Bright, colourful and exuberant, the imagery is an accurate representation of the producer's output. At just 19 he's already gained a sizeable following, with his most recent single "How Can It Be," featuring equally young singer/songwriter Maddee, amassing over 45,000 plays in less than 48 hours. For his debut EP, Colors, the producer enlists Maddee for another two tracks, and her vocals become a defining feature of Harrison's release, appearing on a total of three of the EP's five tracks. I'd even argue that she's not on the EP enough.
It's not that the Maddee-less tracks aren't any good; they're actually great. But they're a bit jarring side-by-side with the vocal-featuring tracks. Maddee's laidback delivery adds a layer of insouciance to the release that's both charming and entrancing, so when you get to "Ashe Maree," sandwiched between to Maddee-featuring tracks, it's hard to see how it fits within the collection. The instrumental tracks are glittery 8-bit affairs, akin to label mate Ryan Hemsworth's super-kawaii production style, but the vocal-assisted cuts are more subdued, restrained even, allowing for the listener to appreciate the beat-driven synths and production intricacies. The bombast found on "Ashe Maree" and EP closer "Collage" become distracting, making you skip forward or back to the vocal tracks.
There's an intrinsic duality to the release, making the argument for two separate offerings showcasing both sides of the talented producer's work, because I'm not sure they work as well as one package. However, Colors makes for a compelling first release, and an incredibly exciting preview of his upcoming debut. (Last Gang)