29 Nov 2020

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Russell Harrison - EP Review: Something Over Me

19 Nov 2020 // A review by Kev Rowland

This four-track seventeen-minute-long EP, Something Over Me, is the debut EP from Russell Harrison, who has been performing on stage since the age of nine. Listening to this is like stepping back in time, to a period where singers had no use for auto tune, and it was all about the voice and the performance. Although this his first release, he performs regularly with his own group The Brown Brothers whose focus is on a tribute to soul music, as well as The Howard Morrison Trio, which is dedicated to the great entertainer, Sir Howard Morrison, and is also a seasoned actor in film and TV.

Musically this feels steeped in the Seventies with delicate soulful instrumentation yet pulled further back into the Sixties with a focus on the voice. There is a breadth, a passion and honesty which is so often missing from modern performers, and when he moves into falsetto it is a natural progression of his range. There is nothing strained about any of this, it just flows, and any one of the four songs could have been the lead number as they are all strong in their own right, each showing a soulful, bluesy approach to music which tugs at the heartstrings as the listener knows here is a performer who is putting everything into this, leaving nothing behind.

On the song Something Over Me Russell reminds me of Seal in his effortless approach and the way his vocals are front and centre of everything he does, the music just there to provide additional colour and tone, creating something very special. Mr Man In The Moon takes us back to bands such as The Drifters, and one can imagine Russell in a suit performing delicate steps with the hands moving just so, then everyone joining in on the falsetto chorus. It is an incredible display of vocal versatility and restraint, with the guitar solo on the bridge leading us gently into the next verse.

It is hard to believe this is a debut, as this is the work of a seasoned performer, not one producing his first recorded work under his own name. All the years of performing in different mediums and onstage have come to fruition with what can only be described as an incredibly polished and dynamic release which allows the world to slow down and step back in time. Come Survive With Me is more delicate, while closer Find Courage In Me finds someone totally confident in their vocals as he pushes more into blues and rich soul.

When speaking about the EP, Russell said, "I’ve attempted to write to my voice, so the melodies sit in the thickness of my timbre and allow for moments of escapism into falsetto (always a handy tool to have as a Maori). I’ve tried to create story lines that constantly reflect my own life experiences, with the hope that they bring joy, healing and help; to ease the pains of an ever-changing world". He has achieved that and more: the result is something which is soulful, delicate, emotional, and powerful.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Russell Harrison

Russell Harrison has performed in many places around the world. “As a songwriter I've attempted to write to my voice, to create story lines that constantly reflect my own life experiences. With the hope that they bring joy, healing and to ease the pains of an ever-changing world”

October 2020 sees Russell release his first EP, Something Over Me. Ollie Harmer has captured a nostalgia of sound that is unapologetically live & unforgiving, with a blatant sense of unadulterated musicianship that has Dixon Nacey’s creative signature all over it.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Russell Harrison


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