9/9/11 | Zaptownmag.com | www.zaptownmag.com | Record Review
Although Big Harp hails from the sprawling city of Los Angeles, their style descends down the Sierra Nevadas and more toward the foggy atmosphere of the Bay area. Chris Senseney has the demeanor of Mark Eitzel while their music stretches across the Plains.But instead of tales of desperation, you get noir stories from the streets. "Nadine" weaves a tale through honky tonk pianos setting the stage. It's the perfect aura to the ghosts of the westward expansion.The first time I spun through "Everybody Pays," I was not too impressed. But multiple passings, and I quickly warmed up to this song. The unique acoustic configuration breathes across an African landscape while keeping the lyrics atuned to an urban-worn tale. I cite this as an example because many of these songs warm up to you the more you listen. At first you sit with a blank stare, but then once the music sinks in, you get it and its dark vaudevillian approach to the metropolitan circus they paint."Steady Hand Behind The Wheel" sounds like a lost song off of Lou Reed's Coney Island Baby, while "All Bets Are Off" is Nick Cave swooning. As Senseney raises his voice and the levels begin to heat up, you expect a fight at any time. It comes at the end of the song.The husband/wife (Stefanie) duo has created an honest release that is straight forward and out there for all to grab on to. For a debut, it feels like Big Harp has been at it for a long time. The music is that progressed.