An invitation to play The Long Road Festival in the U.K in September gave Native Harrow the platform for an extended stay in Europe and the scope to book a number of dates in England, Scotland and Ireland. The result was a seven week tour and the opportunity to promote their latest album Happier Now, which was released in July on the Loose label, to outstanding reviews.
Having enjoyed unseasonably glorious weather in the U.K. their arrival at Dublin Port unfortunately coincided with a prolonged spell of wet weather. Thankfully, they did not let this dampen their spirits and their performance at The Underground is further endorsement of the duet’s rising star.
Native Harrow are Devin Tuel, a classically trained vocalist, and her musical partner and multi-instrumentalist Stephen Harms. The couple are three albums into an alliance that has involved touring endlessly over the past five years. This evening’s show focused on the main on material from the Happier Now album, while also featuring a few songs from their earlier work.
Their quality shines through from the opener Can’t Go On Like This to the final song Something You Have. Tuel’s vocals are simply adorable, crystal clear and hypnotic, while Harms provides electric guitar, bass, drums and keys, often combining a number of the instruments on individual songs.
Tuel is renowned for her capacity to write sorrowful songs and Way To Light from the latest album, is probably the stand out song in her catalogue. Remarkably, it was written in the studio while her fellow musicians were on a coffee break while recording Happier Now. Its delivery this evening is equally impressive, bordering on spellbinding. She proceeds to tells us that How You Do Things was derived from the present political climate in America, the questioning lyrics reading like an open letter to the current President. Revealing her adeptness and ability to also create breezy and heartening songs, she delivers the delicate and melodic Blue Canyon, contrasting it later in the set with the chunky and menacing Round and Round. Two selections from their second album Sorores, For Nothing and Too Many Troubles are played consecutively in the set and Poor Beggar from their debut album Ghost is also included.
Native Harrow’s core sound often recalls early career Laura Marling, with possibly some Judee Sill on the side. Their professionalism and perfectionistic characteristics are also evidenced by the quality of sound they manage to create tonight, as a two piece.
A top-notch act surely destined for bigger stages, lets hope they keep their promise and return to Ireland for more dates in 2020.
Review by Declan Culliton