KUMD Album Review: Nat Harvie Trio

Apr 4, 2018

Nat Harvie Trio | Broken Record

Nat Harvie and the two other members of their trio, Sam Williams and Becca DeBoer, have crafted one of the most entertaining debuts by any Minnesota artists recently.

Harvie, formerly of Duluth band Vivielle, has now released their first full-length LP, Broken Record, as of March 23. The self-proclaimed "100% queer" project features ten tracks and has a sound which is so much more than just Alternative.

Beginning with “Nat Harvie’s Birthday”, Harvie sings a song of liberation and victory. Light guitar strums and their soft voice help bring a musical melancholy to fruition. Singing “I will not build some fantastic new home town to trap you/though I know that I could and string all of our lovers along” Harvie brings honest reality to the lyrics of their music which is in complete harmony with the featured instruments.

Again highlighting lyricism, the track “My My My” has some very poetic lines by Harvie which rise to the surface. The song at first glance appears to be an ode to the damage caused by previous misfortune and heartbreak, with the opening line, “I can’t feel my toes but I can move them better then before” and quotable gems such as “Everything I do is like packing for a trip that won’t come through”. There is a sense of disappointment in their voice when they sing this; however, the poetic nature leaves the song’s meaning up for interpretation.

Like Tim Booth of the band James or even Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, there’s a unique aspect to Harvie’s voice that is almost ambiguous. The soft vocal tone allows for anybody, young or old, to sing along to the tracks. This is best illustrated on the album cut “Crow,” which includes backing by a light guitar and Williams adding drums that build to a peak at the 3-minute mark. Like the water that collides with Duluth’s shores, we hear the song come crashing down in a more contemporary rock fashion. This crescendo technique is also seen on the song “Pilot.”

“Hedonism” also takes a more emphatic approach from a production standpoint. The uniqueness of the track compared to the rest of the album is in part due to the incorporation of a wind instrument. Guitar riffs, halted by a cheery clarinet sequence, create an almost surreal moment toward end of the song. This closing transition is a perfect example of how Nat is more than just a songwriter, showing production skills that are just as good as any seasoned veteran.

Broken Record is available digitally and on vinyl. Look out for Nat Harvie and the rest of the trio and, if you decide to purchase a physical copy, we promise it won’t be broken.