Melissa Rodenbeek and Hiram Lucke of The Harvey Girls are a brilliantly eccentric husband-and-wife psych-pop band from Portland, Oregon. Their latest album I've Been Watching a Lot of Horror Movies Lately from Portland-based label Circle Into Square introduces songs created by live looping analog instruments (guitar, floor tom, keyboard, theremin) in real-time with the aid of a Boss RC-20 pedal. This intuitive, organic process of layer-on-layer creation results in a familiar but singular sound.
Recorded by Hiram at the couple's house over a 6 month period of painstaking effort, the album is a stunningly eclectic mix of songs typical of the band's off-kilter writing style. From the opening track "The Body Without Any Eyes" upbeat gospel sound to the epic and surreal closing track "Alpha Invasion on Delta Waves (Lullabye of Brueghel)" the songs incorporate alternately-tuned folk guitars, real and programmed drums, field recordings, intricate vocal harmonies, metal pipes, and cheap synths--sometimes in stark contrast and sometimes as a wash of sound. Musically, imagine Jandek crossed with Miley Cyrus chanting "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" while awaiting the arrival of the Old Ones. This has nothing to do with The Harvey Girls' album--we just want you to visualize it. The sound of I've Been Watching a Lot of Horror Movies Lately is actually akin to the works of groups like The Flaming Lips, Roger Waters-era Pink Floyd, the West African band Tinariwen, and too many gospel compilations to list.
Imagery from classic and modern horror movies informs lyrics starring the specter that right wing shitheads fear most: the recent immigrant. These are songs that sound like a sunny day with lyrics written by Clive Barker, Richard Matheson, or Neil Gaiman.
The Harvey Girls think that if you used to read Fangoria and Tiger Beat, you will like this album.