Harlow Lake – Bell and Jewel

A challenging dive into the world of progressive rock. A true showing-off of this artist's musical knowledge.

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‘Bell and Jewel’ is the latest release by Cork-native, artistic prog-rocker Shane O’Leary, otherwise known as Harlow Lake. This track has so much to unpack and is a true testament to this artist’s musical knowledge.

Whether it’s the melting of genres or the chaotic progressive nature of the piece, it is a feast for the ears. The main anchor of this song has to be the vocals. Shane’s gruff and grungy voice really grips the listener, with some beautiful hints reminiscent of the late, great Layne Staley. In fact, some harmonic choices echo Staley’s work. While prog-rock bands have historically used higher ranged vocals, it was refreshing to hear something a little bit more down to earth. 

What would a piece like this be without varying drum grooves and modal changes? O’Leary definitely hits some notes beyond the native scale, and they work so well. On top of that, the beat seems so chaotically colourful. If it wasn’t for the hi-hat holding onto that 4/4 beat, anybody can be fooled that it is in an uneven time signature. But that comes later. 

As the song continues to unfold, the music shifts to a 7/4 rhythm that is such a staple in grunge. That mixed with the variety of instrumental and modal variety truly shows off some talent. 

This track precedes the release of Harlow Lake’s second solo album ‘Valley of Teeth’. 

“Valley Of Teeth pushes the musical envelope, keeping the listener’s head spinning with barely a chance to catch their breath. A progressive art rock record that fits nicely in the libraries of fans of The Mars Volta or Radiohead.”

Everything about ‘Bell and Jewel’ seems incredibly unpredictable and new. It was such a pleasant surprise to see the musical skill being put to the limits. This piece truly may challenge the listeners to let go of what “standard” music is, and let the artist take them to wherever the destination will be. It is innovative, yet reminiscent. There was no rulebook in the writing of this music, no formula allowed, and it takes the best sounds from several genres and styles. Very cool, very clever, and refreshing. 

Readers are encouraged to give Harlow Lake’s brand new piece ‘Bell and Jewel’ a shot and to support this artist as much as possible.  The album ‘Valley of Teeth’ will be released on March 12th. You can stream the song on Spotify, and follow the artist on Facebook and Instagram for future updates.

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