Author: Tom Haugen
8/24/11 | Thebykerack.com | thebykerack.com | Record Review
The duo behind Big Harp- Chris Senseney (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Stefanie Drootin-Senseney (bass, backing vocals) don't waste any time. In a whirlwind three years the couple met, fell in love, had a son, got married, and then had a daugther. Following that they made an album, and much like their courtship this didn't take long either, White Hat being recorded in a mere three days with Rilo Kiley bassist Pierre de Reeder and Chris Phillips provided the drum work.Together the pair deliver an intimate disc full of vivid storytelling (often stories of scenarios involving love), their instrumentation shifting from country influenced twang to distorted guitars matched up with gritty rock and plenty of sparse moments with a classic folk foundation. Big Harp aren't concerned with any studio tricks or creating some new bizarre sub-genre of disjointed noise for the hipster crowd. Instead, the rely on the time honored traditon of timeless, memorable, raw and catchy rhythms that is all at once vintage yet with a modern day folk/Americana/roots hybrid.Having already cut their teeth in the world of highly praised indie rock (Chris is in Art In Manilla; Stefanie has played in The Good Life and Bright Eyes), Chris' roots in punk rock versus Stefanie's history with subdued music yields a chemistry between the couple that emits gorgeous instrumentation and sophisticated textures, with very romantic and emotive songwriting. Possessing the sort of accomplished balladry that artists like Nick Cave and Townes Van Zandt are so well known for, Big Harp's soulful and forthright love songs make this debut nothing short of captivating.