Just over a year ago, I had the honor of reviewing Harbor & Home’s album ‘Fighter’. Although it wasn’t my typical cup of tea, I fell in love with the album and the band. It’s hard to believe that it was over a year ago but as soon as my friend gave me their new album ‘Hold On To Love’ to review, a sense of excitement took over. She warned me that this album was a little different and there had been some line-up changes but I didn’t really care. My eyes were wide as I scanned over the lyrics and liner notes. “This record is a compilation of a mixed bag of emotions. From the agony of relationships long gone to the sheer joy of creating something entirely new for us.” That’s what the inside of the sleeve of this album says and if that doesn’t sound like the perfect soundtrack to my Saturday morning, I don’t know what does.
The introductory track to this album (aptly named “Intro”) kicks the album off with a beautiful ambiance and really preps you before fading into “Follow Me Home”. The album instantly wrapped itself around me like a giant hug. Whereas I got a very alt-country vibe from their previous album, I was getting more of a pop-country feel from this track but don’t be fooled. This band is anything but generic. That pop-country feel is joined by a very Mumford & Sons sound creating a beautiful and powerful soundscape that quickly took over my entire house (and probably my neighbor’s as well if I’m being quite honest).
“Hold Me” was an instant favorite of mine. It starts with the rev of what sounds like a motorcycle engine before turning into a poppy yet beautiful little number. This song is anthemic and perfect. By about my third listen through, I couldn’t help but think that this is going to be a huge hit the second a radio station gets their hands on it. It just has everything you could ever want from a fun yet beautiful track that makes you both move to the infectious beat and feel a sense of comfort from the heart-warming lyrics.
That vibe continues as the album moves onto “Two Faces” but the tempo slows down a little bit and brings a more Americana vibe and a sense of swagger that I instantly loved. There’s a sense of power in this track and a gritty vibe. Blasts of power are scattered throughout this track that catch you a bit off guard but also fit so damn perfectly and seem to really drive the point of this song home and directly into your soul. I was almost bummed as the album rolled onto the title track “Hold On To Love” but the care-freeness of this track was a perfect flow from “Two Faces”. The vocals of “Hold On To Love” definitely have more of a country twang to it than the previous songs just proving how this band can bridge the gap between various genres with a sense of ease and without coming from left field. Although the vocals were a bit too country for me, this track is charming and fun.
The country twang reigns supreme as the track switches to “Long Way Down” and the tempo slows a little bit. Although this wasn’t my favorite track on the album, it’s absolutely beautiful and the gang vocals are nothing short of goosebump inducing. I really wanted the tempo to pick up a bit but was given “Stand Up” which keeps the tempo slow and the feelings raw. One of the main reasons I appreciate this band so much is the way you feel the words that are being said instead of just hearing them and “Stand Up” is a perfect example of that. It’s a powerful track about standing tall and not giving up and, although I wanted something more upbeat, the lyrics of this track are absolutely perfect and made it a favorite of mine.
The beginning of “Rock Bottom” caught me. It kicks off with gang vocals that have a sound that only Harbor & Home can pull off. The swagger heard in “Two Faces” takes the forefront of this track but the band quickly replaces that swagger with pure comfort as the album moves onto “In the Dark”. The beauty and heartbreak in this track both musically and lyrically left me absolutely speechless. Again, not my typical cup of tea but Harbor & Home has this odd way of putting elements throughout their tracks that everyone can love making them truly accessible, one of a kind, and true to themselves.
As soon as “Lies” took over my house, I knew it would be a favorite of mine. It kicks off with a playful and pounding piano part while the vocals dance above the “Chopsticks” like pounding before smoothing out to a song that is sure to bring a smile to your face. Like “Hold Me”, this is a track that will be huge as soon as a radio station gets their hands on it. Part Maroon 5, part (insert country-pop band here), and all honest and pure fun, I have nothing more to say about this track other than listen to it if you’re just having a day where you really need to smile for no good reason.
“You Tear Me Apart” starts with an almost 80’s style intro before moving into a more classic country sound. The 80’s synth sound comes in and out of this track making a standout on this album while the vocals and the overall composition of the song never lets you forget who this track belongs to.
The album ends with the most beautiful track that I’ve heard from this band to date. “Not Coming Over” is raw, powerful, and a true statement to end on. Again, this track is a perfect example of how this band makes you feel the words, not just hear them. Would I have liked this album to end with a powerful banger of a track? Absolutely. But there’s no denying the power and beauty of this simple yet impactful track.
Harbor & Home isn’t the type of band I would typically check out but they impress me more and more with each album of theirs that I get the honor to review. The evolution from ‘Fighter’ to ‘Hold On To Love’ is clear but both albums are so clearly Harbor & Home’s that it’s impossible to not fall in love with this group.
My Favorite Track(s): “Hold Me”; “Stand Up”; “Lies”
For Fans Of: A country swagger; Comforting vibes
Daydream-ability: 4.1 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Autumn tried to attack a bird through the window. Artie sunbathed on the back of the couch
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 8 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 8.2 out of 10
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