Harvey Causon’s EP Murphy’s Hand is a brooding, production-driven collection of songs. Here is a soulful and powerful emerging singer, setting his vocals to melodic and experimental trip-hop and R’n’B sounds. With this new 5-track EP we’re getting a proper introduction to what Harvey is all about, and it’s instantly apparent there’s been an interesting sound developing since his 2017 single Frisson. From the outset, hook after hook unfold through lyrics which challenge and intrigue. The first track ‘Branches’ begins in a mysterious jazzy mood but deviates into something more ambient with trippy synths and wider spaces. Throughout the developments and genre-bending shifts, Causon’s sensitivity and introspection hold the tracks together. The EP is his second in collaboration with flatmate and beat-maker Gabriel Gifford.
Stand out track, ‘Worn Down’ is very hip-hop oriented, driven by a two-chord piano loop but with a heavy bass and compressed drums. There’s something beautiful about this track’s imperfections, with the way the piano ever so slightly slips in and out of time, then provides a lush break with just Harvey’s vocals for accompaniment. At points it almost errs into the realms of trap with its quiet up-tempo high-hat rhythms. Its textured feel and ambience remind me of Harvey’s fellow Bristolians Massive Attack and Portishead. Once again there is no catchy chorus, but an emotive build created by Harvey’s vocal harmonies and a delivery which gets more and more impassioned before the track ends. The ending refrain: ‘you can’t say I didn’t warn you’, hints at lost control and strained relationships.
Title track ‘Murphy’s Hand’ is a more upbeat soulful number with a great groove highlighted by chilled percussion and finger snaps. Think Rex Orange County and Oscar Jerome. The old film sample interlude is a nice touch, adding to the retro nostalgic feel. The extended version of ‘Murphy’s Hand’ is pretty much the same just with added studio chatter at the beginning, which is a bit of a creative insight but really is fairly pointless.
Overall, it’s something fresh for those seeking a pop aesthetic with a bit more groove and electronic ambience. It’s clear Causon and Gifford have a wide range of musical influences as there are sounds from several genres here, from Jazz to Electronic to Hip Hop. Murphy’s Hand sets Harvey Causon up well for a big breakthrough and his headline tour this October.
MURPHY’S HAND BY HARVEY CAUSON AND GABRIEL GIFFORD IS OUT NOW ON OFF-KILTER RECORDS.