By Jake Ebdale
Released Friday September 9th, 2014 - Aeroplane Music
Mahoney Harris (pronounced Marney) has just released her exceptional debut album, which must feel liberating. Currently based on Waiheke Island with a Hamilton raised background (the talent ratio for the Tron is astounding), Harris has crafted a brief and beautiful set of songs with some talented players over a few years.
Not unlike the inhabitants of Waiheke, there is a sense of willful isolation throughout We Didn't Feel Alone, in what I can sense as a conscious break from the hustle and bustle of life in general. Produced by Tom Healy with additional production production from Wayne Bell, who has worked with the likes of Lisa Crawley, Gin Wigmore and Jan Hellriegel, there is a bed of natural, warm sounding instrumentation (an experienced and skilled drummer, Bell lends his talents to the album too), and some very Kiwi imagery. Importantly, there is a confidence here that usually isn't around for the debut album.
‘Real Deal' is a brooding opener, Harris' voice delicate, lilting, with Andrew Keoghan providing drops of piano and violin. ‘Miss You', a powerful number which closed the recent album release party, has a sense of longing that pervades the record - "I'm older now, no smoke and mirrors, I can see it clear as day." There are some truly astounding harmonies, ‘Come Home' and ‘The Wheel' for example, that at times evoke the greats -Mitchell, DeFranco, even Bon Iver and Radiohead - this material is very personal, very assured and very unique.
The title track and first single has a distinct, driving beat, "an unmade bed, pile of shoes, got to get to sleep to get up soon" - words that speak of a musical sanctuary amongst the drudgery of the everyday. ‘Give Me', a personal favourite, harkens back to the Stray Gators playing on Harvest, an upbeat sing along with Black Keys hand claps.
The album is the perfect length for road trips up the coast. It's escape - something everyone needs at times. There's also something very personal about the record too; a feeling you're invading some unknown personal space, which works given the album's title. A promising, triumphant debut for Mahoney Harris.