Author: Ian Schober
9/20/11 | Exclaim.ca | www.exclaim.ca | Record Review
Big Harp are a collaboration between husband-and-wife Chris Senseney and Stefanie Drootin-Senseney (also of the Good Life), and Chris Phillips (drums). The group have yielded an intriguing saloon album making use of blues, bar rock and folk, with no reservations about experimentation. Drootin-Senseney's bass parts form the perfect sonic complement to Senseney's arrangements and progressions. Creating folk or blues in this way isn't easy to pull off without coming across as a wee bit derivative, but for the most part, this isn't an issue, although Big Harp sometime sound like Grinderman a lot. Chris Senseney's vocals are a dead ringer for Nick Cave's distinctive baritone, while the music reflects Cave's thrashier garage tendencies and occasionally, his film soundtracks, which are built upon old Western-influenced soundscapes. Despite apparent influences (Cave is even cited in the press release), White Hat is first and foremost the raw, unabashedly romantic product of a duo with a passion shared in both musical and personal realms.