You know that with a name like The Existence of Harvey Lord you would need to be bloody good to carry off such a title, well, this ten peice psych-folk group who are all based around Lancaster do not disappoint. We have been playing The Existence of Harvey Lord (pt 1) on our Frukie stream so it was with some excitement when we received The Existence of Harvey Lord (pt 2).
There is often a danger involved in putting together such a large ensemble of musicians in that the result is often a cacophonous wall of sound. This is quite the opposite with The Existence of Harvey Lord who are made up of Harvey and his guitar along with backing from banjo to flute to violin. They present an altogether more delicate approach that, along with Harvey’s distinctive Janschian style of singing, create a soft envelope of pychedelia not uncommon to the likes of Nick Drake.
For those of you that want an album that conjures up lazy hazy days stretched out in a hammock with not a care in the world, then this is the one. If you want an album that is more uncommonly “out there”, it’s also the one! The album has that timeless feel that has allowed the likes of Drake to still fit in to modern day playlists. That’s not to say they play all their tracks in a safe bubble of the past Psych-folk era. They tip-toe in and out of an altogether more magical world that will make them fit in very well on Autumn Ferment Records with whom they recently signed to and whom we like very very much…hint hint. Extended Yawn finds them experimenting and exploring with an almost cabaret like drive. Whilst Feather and Rocks has an underlying creepy playfulness. Harvey articulates every word making verses easy to catch (not something as common as you may think today) which is just as well as his lyrics are filled with a profundity of poetic verse such as on Crowfield which you will want to tap into to get the full Existence experience. The verse and song-writing is strong and uses a great deal of imagery. The Existence of Harvey Lord and definately a band to watch out for!
We were intrigued by The Existence Harvey Lord so we persuaded Frank Goodness to go and investigate:
The Existence of Harvey Lord is a relatively new ‘alt-folk’ ensemble hailing from the north west of England. So, who is Harvey, does he exist?, and what can we expect from this merry band?
Harvey tells me that the band can vary in number from just himself to over a dozen members. ‘Its mental on stage sometimes, just finding somewhere for people to stand, or sit, haha, I guess a festival stage is fine, but a back room in Bradford can get a bit cramped, we love it though’. Harvey is a very unassuming fellow, and judging from last years ‘Existence pt1’ release, that sense of calm n order is reflected in his music. ‘ I’m very much into the Beefheart approach, musically n lyrically, with the introspection of Nick Drake and some of the Eugene Chadbourne craziness thrown in, of course Bert Jansch and John Fahey have always been there too’.
I press him on the lyrical content of his songs, particularly in respect of some of the poets and famous sons of his home county of Cumbria ‘ Nah, I write about things I know about, Char fishing n Tarns n nature n stuff. They used to take us to Wordsworths cottage all the time at school, but I though it was right boring, haha’. ‘I just stick to what I know’. Harveys lyrics sometimes have a surreal Beefheart tinge and he hints that the lyrical content comes as much from his comic hero’s Vic n Bob and Tommy Cooper as much as it does from his deep connection to nature growing up in rural Cumbria. ‘There’s a lot of warmth in Beefheart that’s not immediately obvious, and the animal motifs, yeah’.
The really obvious thing here is Harvey’s utter engagement in the sounds and creations he and his band have evoked. On stage the band often improvise and flow with the music. Each member has had creative involvement in the arrangement of the tracks. This process is made easy by the fact that he pretty much knew all the members as friends beforehand. ‘Yeah, it was Wes the Banjo player that just wouldn’t let it go and insisted we recreate the album for a live setting. You see it was a studio thing to start with, but aye, its been brilliantly received….its all his fault, haha.’
Harvey enjoys talking about the music but ultimately sums it up by insisting ‘the songs can say it better, they’re a natural part of what I do. It would be nice if people get ‘em, I only really do this for me n my mates first n foremost, anything else is a massive bonus’. Harvey is very self-effacing about this, and refreshingly so. His songs avoid cliché, experiment within the genre and are completely riveting.
I finish up by asking him about the future of The Existence of Harvey Lord. ‘ The future….top of the pops’ he quips. At this point I have to explain to Harvey that TOTP no longer exists.
Harvey Lord interviewed by Frank Goodness on behalf of Folk Radio UK.
The band consists variously of guitars, Vocal, banjo, percussion, ocarina, flute, trombone, lap steel, Cello, violin, clarinet, glock, mandolin and organ. The Band have gigged extensively around the north west of England in 2009-10 including supporting slots for The Fence collectives ‘Rozi Plain’, Humble Souls ‘Miserable Rich’, and ‘Das Wanderlust’ at the Fellfoot festival, as well as various appearances in Manchester, Bradford, Lancaster, Kendal, Liverpool and Cumbria.
Trebuchet Records. Autumn Ferment Records-
In 2009 Trebuchet records released a sampler album ‘Love letters from the Underground’ consisting of artists on its roster. The Existence is proud to be involved with this project. Myspace Link
Also, earlier this year ‘Autumn Ferment’ records agreed to distribute ‘The Existence of Harvey Lord CD(pt 2), complete with hand knitted CD pouch (see Myspace)
Free First album download
Click here to download the first album for free.
Folk Radio UK Speical Offer
The new album can be previewed (for free) and downloaded for the discounted price of £4 from the link below by entering the code: frukie when prompted.