PENDANT - Harp Music Album Reviews

PENDANT - Harp Music Album Reviews
California musician Christopher Adams fuses shoegaze, house music, breakbeats, and hip-hop into an ever-morphing sound world as complex and irreducible as grief.

Dance music has long been used as a refuge—from breakups and soul-sucking day jobs, from homophobia, racism, and war. But Christopher Adams, the California-based musician and producer behind PENDANT, wasn’t seeking an escape from reality so much as an opportunity to confront the reality he’d been avoiding. His second LP, Harp, grapples with the grief and pain Adams locked away for years following his father’s death in 2010, channeling invigorating hardcore, eccentric rap, and weirdo rave alongside flashes of R&B and new wave. What makes all these sounds work together is Adams’ confident performances and complex sound worlds—icy yet inviting, ambitious yet grounded. “Follow me down, this is the caustic pop music sound,” he raps in a Beastie Boys-esque snarl on “Thorn.”

For much of Adams’ youth, his father struggled with alcoholism, ultimately passing away when Adams was 18. Adams—barely a legal adult—signed the papers to remove life support, and though he went on to release music with acts like DIY post-hardcore band Calculator and noisy punk outfit Never Young, it took over a decade for him to come to terms with the experience through his art. “My dad’s death was messy and confusing and it’s always been really hard to talk about,” he writes in a statement accompanying the album. “I wanted to make this record about pain, how ugly it can be, and how grateful I am to it for connecting me with myself and the people around me.”

Adams began work on the album in early 2020, writing and producing by himself with only a laptop. After several years making guitar music, he was drawn to different sounds: the ones that boom from clubs and warehouses, which then lay vacant at the onset of the pandemic. Harp is marked by thunderous dance beats, in-your-face rap, and fragments of spoken word—a jarring departure from Adams’ past work. Fusing his shoegaze, punk, and hardcore background with jungle, house, and hip-hop, the album cycles through a mad scientist’s library of musical styles, from UK garage breakbeats (“LED Head Rush”) to celestial synths (“Altered Destinies”) to abrasive electronic textures (“Contract”). Thankfully, the off-the-wall ideas largely pan out, and as an experienced shoegazer who’s previously worked with producers like Jay Som’s Melina Duterte and Jack Shirley (Deafheaven), Adams is accustomed to balancing layers within his music.

Against these harsh yet beautiful backdrops, Harp explores the interconnectedness of life, dreams, memories, and death—and how pain and love color all of this. Adams’ previous full-length as PENDANT, Through a Coil, was rather abstract, couching brief moments of vulnerability within metaphysical imagery that was often difficult to parse, alongside Creation Records-esque melodies that occasionally felt half-baked. With Harp, Adams demonstrates his ability to write a sticky hook or sustain attention without one, whether it’s the seductive dream pop of “Blue Mare” or the acid-doused club track “Rights for an Angel.” The melodies wield his relatively limited vocal range to near perfection, displaying his knack for soulfulness and rowdiness alike.

While the vaporous vocals, brash rhythms, and ever-morphing styles can lead Harp to feel larger than life, Adams’ words come across raw and direct. “Pain’s my bitch I fucking feel it,” he raps on the seething, hardcore-infused “Contract.” When he squawks “This is the sound of my head bleeding out” on “Thorn,” or delicately coos “I forgive you for everything I lived through/While so much is unclear to me” on “Secret in the Dusk,” the catharsis is apparent. He doesn’t claim to be cured—he frequently references his lasting anger and hurt—and although this music is born from a brutal experience of grief, it also reflects the euphoric power of love. “LED Head Rush” glows with the memory of a loved one who’s no longer around, and the anxious narrator of “Latex Heart” finds affirmation during a breakdown in the warm presence of someone they trust. It’s no coincidence that both of these moments on the album take place late at night, the traditional hours for dance music. As darkness gives way to light, Harp reminds us that opening oneself to love can be just as humbling as death.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
PENDANT - Harp Music Album Reviews PENDANT - Harp Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on April 27, 2022 Rating: 5


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