November 17, 2005

Harvey Danger "Cream and Bastards Rise" EP

Harvey Danger’s third LP, Little by Little…, is easily one of this year’s musical surprises. Long thought dead and gone, the band returned with not only their best musical work to date, but also one of this year’s best records. They’ve mellowed out the power-pop and increased the “pop,” and it’s all been quite worthwhile. But as they’ve done all of the work themselves, they don’t have the luxury of spending money on doing things like releasing singles. With Kill Rock Stars’ assistance, though, they’ve been allowed the ability to get this album’s best song out to a wider audience. The lead song, “Cream and Bastards Rise,” is a fast-paced rocker, with lyrics that make one wonder if they’re talking about their experience in the record industry. It’s a great song that definitely deserves airplay.

For those who bought the album, Cream and Bastards Rise is a bit repetitive; two of the three B-sides appear on the bonus disk. “Picture, Picture” is another rocker, a good song that simply didn’t fit on the album. “Cream and Bastards (Reprise)” is a funny 1920s-style lounge-act version of the title track. The only unreleased number, “Sad Sweetheart of the Rodeo,” is a radio session version of a song from their lost second album, King James Version. This version is mellower, with a much different arrangement, and it wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Little by Little….

Cream and Bastards Rise might not be a necessary release for some, but these four songs serve as an excellent snapshot of Harvey Danger circa 2005. And “Cream and Bastards Rise” is simply a great song, and it proves that the band is quite capable of writing other great sounding radio-worthy hits.

--Joseph Kyle

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