February 02, 2002

Harper Lee "Everything's Going To Be Okay"

Everything is going to be ok, but I wouldn't believe it after listening to Everything's Going to Be Ok. Keris Howard, leader of the Sarah Records stars Brighter, has picked up quite well where Brighter left off. Having never heard Brighter, I really couldn't tell you what that means, and as I own only one Sarah Record, I really couldn't begin to tell you about the meaning of Brighter in the greater indiepop world scheme of things. Really, though, it's time to move on.

While I may not know much about their past, I do know with some certainty that Trembling Blue Stars' Bob Wratten is an undeniable influence on Harper Lee. Of course, that's not surprising, considering Keris' involvement with Trembling Blue Stars over the past few years. With his creative partner Laura Bridge, Harper Lee pick up where Alive to Every Smile stops. That is, sad, melancholy pop music with intelligent lyrics and a hint of keyboards and a sprinkle of atmosphere. From the first notes of "Miserable Town," you know that you're visiting a miserable landscape. Unlike the accusations made about Bob Wratten, Howard never really becomes overly sad and pathetic. I like "Train Not Stopping" and "Fine Bones" the best, but all of the songs here are sad-eyed pop songs.

I can't really say that mope-rock is music for everyday listening, but Everything's Going to Be OK's certainly a pleasure, whether your day is sunny and bright, or rainy at night. Next time your girl or boy breaks your heart and your cat won't speak to you, leave your sorrows to Harper Lee and you'll feel okay--or pop on Everything's Going to Be Ok when you want to feel pathetic. Whatever the case, you'll be the wiser for it...

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.indiepages.com/harperlee
Label Website: http://www.indiepages.com/matinee

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