tue 26/05/2020

Album: Ren Harvieu - Revel In The Drama | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Ren Harvieu - Revel In The Drama

Album: Ren Harvieu - Revel In The Drama

Almost a decade on from ‘Through The Night’, the soulful voice of Salford takes control

Ren Harvieu's 'Revel In The Drama': thrillingly fresh

Filmic. Lushness balanced with intimacy. Ren Harvieu’s follow-up to 2012’s Top Five Through The Night is crammed with wide-screen aural dramas. Take “Cruel Disguise”. It begins with a slinky Sixties spy thriller vibe along the Shirley Bassey lines and after a brief moment of contemplation evolves into a swirling drama evoking Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Have to Say You Love me”.

Filmic. Lushness balanced with intimacy. Ren Harvieu’s follow-up to 2012’s Top Five Through The Night is crammed with wide-screen aural dramas. Take “Cruel Disguise”. It begins with a slinky Sixties spy thriller vibe along the Shirley Bassey lines and after a brief moment of contemplation evolves into a swirling drama evoking Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Have to Say You Love me”. Next up, the crisp “Yes Please” nods to Laura Nyro when she’d hooked up with LaBelle but, again, darker – trip-hop-tinged – terrain is explored.

The singing voice is melodic, yearning and nuanced. Yet irrespective of its grounding in Sixties and early Seventies female soul-pop, Revel In The Drama is thrillingly fresh.

Fittingly, it’s appropriate to treat Revel In The Drama as a debut album rather than a second. Despite the success of Through The Night, her label Island let her go. And despite her expressive voice defining what was heard back then, the songs were by writers for hire – all male. She co-wrote only three of the 11 tracks, and those were with three other people. Then, there’s what led up to its release: her back was broken in May 2011 and Through The Night’s release was postponed until she was on the way to recovery. Rather than revelling in the drama eight years ago, it’s probable she was either lost within it or reduced to being a bit-part player.

Now on Bella Union, with her own songs and the Magic Numbers’s sympathetic Romeo Stodart as her chosen collaborator, Harvieu has looked back to how it began, when she was putting songs on Myspace – songs she had written, was invested in and had control over. On Through The Night, it was impossible to determine what was actually her’s. Revel In The Drama confirms she should have been in the driving seat all along.

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