LHarmonic is the third release from popular singer/songwriter Leo Harmonay and another collection highlighting his durable and highly musical mix of emotionally erudite lyrics and superb melodies. It’s, essentially, a five-song collection with an added reprise and a bonus live track tacked on for good measure, but those final two choices are far from filler and do much to complete the EP and give listeners a way to hear another facet of Harmonay’s talents. His songwriting definitely has a strong poetic feel, but it’s never so pronounced that it makes the material difficult to connect with.
Harmonay’s blending of jazz and blues sounds makes for a tasty stew for each of these seven performances and the production, even on the live cut, is intelligent and satisfying. He’s a popular and well-known figure on the northeastern music scene, but LHarmonic harbors the potential to raise his artistic profile considerably.
It contains unassuming numbers and more lyrically challenging performances. It opens, however, with one of the EP’s warmest and briefest performances with the first version of “Shine On You” and there’s enough recognizable elements on the surface of the song to attract listeners with little effort, but listening deeper reveals more. The electric guitar broad strokes added to the mix ring out with a distinctive twang we don’t hear again on LHarmonic, but it soon reveals itself to be just another vivid color at Harmonay’s disposal.
“Deep Ocean Blue” lives up to its lush billing and the nice touch of some abbreviated yet intensely lyrical electric guitar lines. His vocal performance is emotionally alive, robust, and even a little inspired sounding without ever getting carried away with itself. “Heart Alone” is one of the more interesting numbers on LHarmonic and takes a less direct approach than we hear on the previous songs. His vocal is even better than before thanks to the added desperation and urgency he conveys in his singing.
Leo Harmonay Can Share urgency and Desperation in Song
Many will find “Glorious Decline” to be their favorite from the EP and there’s definitely a strong argument for it. There’s a sense of getting closer than ever before to Harmonay’s vulnerability, but his observational talents are given near perfect expression in this song and his voice reflects his profound connection to the material. Audiences are in for a mild surprise, at least, with the EP’s fifth song “Rainbow Sounds”. A more experimental side of Harmonay’s talents emerge from this tune thanks to the generous use of electronica to further color the tune. His voice embodies that same vaguely hallucinatory air without ever becoming too self indulgent.
LHarmonic ends with a reprise of “Shine on You” that expands the possibilities from its original performance without ever becoming too overwrought. Harmonay’s vocal is even stronger here than before in this musical setting, however, and there’s always a feeling of the song’s various components working and leading towards a common cause. A live version of “Deep Ocean Blue” is shorn of the electric guitar lines heard in the EP’s second song, but it loses none of its musical weight and Harmonay delivers a much more impassioned vocal seemingly in response. If all of the numbers on this release display such live power, this is an even more worthwhile studio recording than we can suppose here. It’s a doozy of a new EP.
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-review by Lance Wright