It's telling of a band's ambition when their first full-length is a double-album. The Wind's Harum Scarum is just that. Except unlike the plethora of double-album misfires – a trend prevalent even among music veterans – Harum Scarum is an exceptionally crafted and well-paced epic that is bound to do more than generate buzz for the Long Beach-based quartet. This is the sort of album that launches an artist into cult status. Such massive followings are rarely possible after one album, but The Wind touch on forms of throwback pop and rock that very few artists the past decade have successfully conquered. Perhaps Dr. Dog at their brightest (We All Belong) came closest among the surveyors of '00s indie-rock, and even certain releases like David Vandervelde's The Moonstation House Band and several from The Walkmen approached the realm of late '60s/early '70s songwriters in the idiosyncratic vein of Brian Wilson, Harry Nilsson, and Roger McGuinn. But as far as authentic re-interpretations of vintage sounds go, few releases the past few years come close to Harum Scarum.
The Wind did not take the notion of their debut release lightly. The Long Beach-based quartet didn’t tease with a single, or an EP, or even just a full-length album. No, “Harum-Scarum,” the collection that Kevin Jaemes, Chad Marshman and Chip and Nick Knechtel unveiled in November, is a double-album — all 23 tracks and 86 minutes of it. The guys had released an EP of whimsical pop as the Austin James Band in 2008, but under their new moniker they’ve managed to follow the breezes of classic pop, taking the genteel melodies, harmonies and arrangements of the ’60s and bending them into heartfelt torch songs, neo-show tunes and mini-anthems with arena-rock aspirations. Though not exhibiting the mystic genius, it reminds you of Richard Swift’s pop explorations. There’s a lot to sort out on “Harum-Scarum,” but the quartet is giving away a download of Disc 1 to get you started.
"Ahhhhh" That's the kind of sigh that follows overwhelming enjoyment and relief, not an abrasive cry, nor any sign of irritation. It is also the only word I could use to describe the feeling that engulfed my being after the completion of this album. The combination of miscellaneous instrumentation, fantastic song-writing, unusual time changes, comforting lyrics and vocal melodies, authentic capturing of audible ecstasy through recording techniques, and mood-swaying progress via diverse influence makes for one of the most stellar, unexpectedly bold debut albums I've heard in... well just about ever.
The group's double album Harum-Scarum flows like a well carved stream, though perhaps it would be more appropriate to compare it to a steady wind, carrying onward endlessly through beautiful landscapes, constantly fluctuating in terms of topography, altitude, climate, and native culture. And what a journey it is. The voices are all so easy to listen to, harmonizing so flawlessly that I'm almost tempted to compare aspects of The Wind to The Beatles, and that's a pretty rare, taboo thing to claim. The sometimes southern-rock vibe emulates the greatest of bands like Wilco (listen to Lucy). Border-line psychedelic, experimental nuances a la Touch(1969) and Grizzly Bear-esque musicianship shine throughout the entire album, but I can fairly say that despite specific, recognizable similarities, The Wind sounds like no other band I've cozied up to before. Do yourself a solid and don't go another day without owning this album.
What is this? Another promising DIY band that almost no one has ever heard of? Yes, it does look that way. And it's no surprise that they, who call themselves The Wind, are based by the oceanside in Long Beach, California. It's also fitting that their most promising single, "Hathor," sounds like a spring or summer time song.
Southern California based rock quartet The Wind didn't fuck around when they emerged from their garages and into the studio, releasing a double debut album Harum Scarum.
This lengthy 23 track album keeps the listener entertained with smoothly diverse arrangements, while carrying the listener through an orchestrated series of events. The band has a fresh take on harmonies with a 70's groove influence.
Disc 1 is offered for free from their website. Download it all. Harum Scarum is a complete work that is smart and leaves you with a happy feeling of gratification. It's easy listening perfect for summer playlists to be played poolside, in the car, or day tripping with your friends. The production is simply delightful.
One thing that struck me was the pristine production work so similar to Abbey Road - it's as if Geoff Emerick was on the board himself. The contrast of whimsy and thematic grandeur covers the entire package, similar to a Klaatu, 10cc or Stackridge album. The flowing prog opener is not unlike ELP or Ambrosia on "Shellwhite" that takes a turn to "Hathor," a bouncy melodic British flavoured tune. "Marvel Me" has a 70's easy listening style with building chorus, but the next atmospheric gem here is the lovely "Oh Hadihu," like Brian Wilson singing in Bread. The guitars assert themselves in the rhythm on "Lucy" with flawless harmonies on the chorus " ohh, such a pretty pretty girl." Then we hear a slow blues rock number "Come On" and a theatrical number "Unless, I'm A Liar." The variety of styles here is very impressive.
Disc 2 continues with the 10cc-like "An Astral Dance And A Shared Dream," but a few songs here ("Some Place," "Yankee Brig") seemed stretched out too long and don't add anything new. Fortunately, a theatrical scene "I'ze Born a Rich Man" and an effective country rocker "27 Cent Blues" are added delights. The quirky "This Is The Modern World" is like 10cc doing Smile's "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow." The remaining tracks are effective but don't raise the bar any further. There are enough good tunes here to rate this is a excellent album, but with so many you'll find yourself picking out favorites.
I wanted to tell you about a band I recently discovered by way of San Diego/Long Beach called The Wind who debuted with an impressive 23 track double disk LP entitled Harum Scarum. Suffice it to say, it's a lot of music- with wide range from The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Queen- mostly nostalgic 60s radio rock, but broad enough not to be married to any one comparison. For five years, they only really had an EP- their latest effort is incredibly ambitious, yet no less meticulous and complex despite the wealth of tracks offered.
Filled with beautiful harmonies, some of my favorite tracks inlcude, "Some Place", "Monsters" and "Lucy". The album in it's entirety feels like a production, like I'm in a movie sequence, I can just imagine everyone breaking out into choreographed dance. There's definitely an orchestral/dramatic element to it. Harum Scarum is an album with an earnest sense of timelessness, classic rock- reconstructed.
The Wind don't do anything halfway. Whereas most bands scramble to amass enough top-shelf material to fill an album, the members of the San Diego/Long Beach four-piece decided to set themselves apart by releasing the double-disc, 23-song Harum-Scarum as their debut, and there isn't a moment of filler on it.
As you might expect from an 87-minute record, the self-released, self-produced Harum-Scarum covers a lot of ground. The Wind's classic-rock influences are immediately apparent, with the Beatles, the Beach Boys and the Band among the most obvious. The plentiful harmonies and pop sensibilities may hark back to the greats of yesteryear, but what really makes the album feel out of time is its unrelenting diversity. Most bands today tend to find one sound and stick with it ,but the Wind aren't afraid to leap from one style to another.
The Wind hail from the great state of California, but by listening alone I would have placed them squarely in the center of England. They pull such a Beatles vibe – mixed with some Kinks, Hollies, Beach Boys, and other breezy 60s pop music – that it's impossible to drive the brain away from that era while listening.
Fortunately, The Wind take this very familiar territory and use it to assemble a sound of their own on Harum Scarum, their ambitious debut album which spans 2 discs, 23 songs, and 86 minutes. Slick shine production and 4-part vocal harmonies permeate the endeavor, which has the dramatic cohesiveness of a modern-day Abbey Road or Pet Sounds. Highlights include the whimsical 'Hathor', the lamentful, jazzy 'Bruise-Eyed', and the jaunty ringmaster's mayhem of 'I'ze Born A Rich Man'.
For 5 years Southern California quartet 'The Wind' has churned out West coast surf rock that is both operatic in its scale while staying entrenched in a modern interpretation of vaudevillian creativity & story telling. During those 5 years we were only given Histor EP to tide us over. That time is behind us however & the boys have finally released the double album of sunshine dipped rock that I've been waiting for, Harum Scarum. If you missed the train a while back, get caught up with disc 1, on the house.
Long have the members distilled their musical selves, and you can hear it. The bold concepts in the villainous monologue 'I'm a Liar', the playfully psychedelic 'Astral Dance', or fantastical opening track 'Shellwhite' both please & surprise (samples here). Beyond concepts, the songs swell effortlessly into matured harmonies and seamless arrangements that crash and subside with authority. Don't pass up 23 tracks of these great tunes to help you float through winter staying warm & flying high.
Harum-Scarum is The Wind's first full-length album, following their EP release in 2008. The So-Cal indie rockers set themselves apart by releasing a 23-track double album as their debut. Clearly influenced by 60s bands like The Beatles and Beach Boys, the album's catchy melodies and floating guitars make it the perfect summer album.
The Wind's Harum Scarum is the best album I never would have heard this year had it not been for the band contacting me personally. A self-produced 23-track debut album is ridiculously ambitious, but this project has paid off. Instead of teasing us with 10 or 12 spoonfuls now, then an antsy two-year wait for more, The Wind introduced itself with one huge dose of excellence, infusing the Beatles with Harry Nilsson's cheeky lyrics and the harmonics of modern-day indie-folk rock acts like Dr. Dog. Highlights include "Hathor," "Distractions," and "An Astral Dance and a Shared Dream." Go shout it from the mountaintops that the Wind is the shiz. Perhaps they'll blow our way someday.
The Wind have a real Beatles-esque sound and the 23 tracks provide the same type of variety you'd get on an album like Abbey Road. In all, the album is complex. These guys show their creativity, adeptness with a variety of musical instruments, and an ability to hit perfect four-part harmonies.