Album of the Week: Harvey Sutherland - BOY
Nearly a decade into his career of releasing catchy cuts of funked out sounds, Harvey Sutherland drops his debut studio LP
Since 2013, our lives have been all the funkier thanks to one Mike Katz AKA Harvey Sutherland, as he gave us the first taste of his self described “neurotic funk” with the Nexus tape, taking cues from Italo-disco and house - all with a firm focus on the funk.
Katz's work ethic has been consistent, with a steady string of EPs and singles (and even a self-titled “album-not-album” in 2017), as well as making a name for himself with his mesmerising live shows, that have seen him tour with the likes of Khruangbin and Hot Chip, as well as getting tapped for remix work for the likes of Disclosure, Genesis Owusu, Hiatus Kaiyote and more.
Drawing as much or more from his experience as a bandleader than that as a producer and DJ, BOY is an incredibly personal record, the majority of which Katz created “in a circular loop between my studio and my psychotherapist”, with the title a reference to an endearing term used by his family, and a big ol' photo of himself on the cover - an appropriate affront to the all-too-cool mysterious producers pervading the underground.
BOY kicks off with lead single Jouissance, a motorik instrumental that builds and builds in momentum, with the title a French word for which “there’s no easy English translation, but it’s the itch that demands scratching, a masochistic desire”. The funk becomes visceral on Age Of Acceleration that pairs arpeggiated synths with reverb soaked vocals and a commanding lead synth.
Another album single, for clearly good reason comes next with Feeling of Love feat. DāM-FunK here to bring the feel good vibes without being too cheesy, as when Mr. Funk asked if it was about a girl or about society, Katz replied “It’s definitely about society”. A really special moment comes next with Holding Pattern, marking the first time Katz has provided lead vocals for one of his own tracks after the proposed vocalist fell through, and the results are amazing, as Katz nails a 70s style soft-jazz-rock vocal. Michael Was Right About You slows things down just a smidge without sacrificing any funk, before we get one of the biggest (welcome) vibe switches on the record in the shape of Type A feat. sos, a track marrying the seemingly disparate worlds of post-punk and dance music to great effect.
Angry Young Man brings the upper tempo house flavours, with some vintage Harvey Sutherland sounds in the mix, while bringing more of a pop sensibility than his more straight-up dance floor cuts of yesteryear. The majestic, tension-packed instrumental title track is up next, using a lack of percussion to great effect before the triplet hi hats kick the vibes into overdrive in the second half. BOY comes to a satisfyingly mellow yet dancaeble close with Time on My Side, a slowed down disco-house cut with more reverb-drenched vocals and squelchy synths over a dusty 4/4 kick drum.
On BOY, Katz invites us deeper into his (or Harvey’s?!) world than we’ve been before, as he injects a healthy dose of pop arrangement goodness to his undeniably danceable productions, and oh boy - it’s a joy to hear.
Harvey Sutherland’s new album BOY is out now via Clarity Recordings / Virgin Music Australia
The best of the rest of this week's records:
Action Bronson - Cocodrillo Turbo [Loma Vista Recordings] USA
Batu - Opal [Timedance] ENG
Bloc Party - Alpha Games [BMG] ENG
Indie / Dance
Chelsea Jade - Soft Spot [Carpark] NZ
Pop / Indie
Kelly Lee Owens - LP.8 [Smalltown Supersound] WAL
Let's Eat Grandma - Two Ribbons [Transgressive] ENG
Indie / Pop
Melody's Echo Chamber - Emotional Eternal [Domino Recording Co] AUS
Psych / Indie
Rammstein - Zeit [Universal] GER
Toro Y Moi - MAHAL [Dead Oceans] USA