Photo credit Gil Gilmour
Harmony Byrne carries a powerful voice that can both devastate with muscular ferocity and affirm with the skilled restraint of a former church singer.
The Melbourne songwriter has opened for The Teskey Brothers on tour in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, dropped jaws at SXSW, received praise from Billboard and The Fader, and ultimately, gained recognition of her own as a touring artist. Now, at 28, she releases her debut LP, Heavy Doors along with a new single ‘Sweeter Than Sugar‘.
Produced by Spoon’s Jim Eno (Tennis, Future Islands), the 10-track album confidently traverses a variety of styles from psych-rock to blues, alt-country, folk, pop, and gospel. With raw honesty, Byrne explores topics like tragedy, spirituality, depression, fear, addiction, and self-liberation.
Fiery, raucous, and dense with snarling guitars, the focus track ‘Sweeter Than Sugar’ is a love song with bite. Byrne says, “This song was written about a friend’s band, which inspired me so much to be a frontwoman of a rock band. The song has now grown in meaning – it is dedicated to all the artists out there who are working tirelessly to create. Without the inspiration of others, I don’t know where I would be today. It is through their examples that I recommit every day.”
‘Sweeter Than Sugar‘ follows previously released album tracks ‘Good Idea‘, a lovingly crafted, country-tinged folk song; ‘Come Down vs Calm Down’, an evocative, bluesy tune about internal conflict that culminates in a cathartic roar; ‘Smoke Inside‘, which arrived with a music video – an external representation of internal contemplation mirroring the song’s lyrics as she recalls, confronts, and puts to rest her personal experiences with love; ‘Loving You Is Lonely‘, an easy-paced, brooding ballad with an alt-folk undercurrent; and ‘Demise‘, Byrne’s debut recording that caught the attention of producer Jim Eno and forged their partnership for the album. Heavy Doors closes with a beautiful, quietly urgent cover of Townes Van Zandt’s ‘If I Needed You’.
Raised in a Mormon family, the third of seven kids, Byrne grew up with a love of church hymns until she fell in love with the sounds of rock ‘n’ roll as a teenager. After enrolling in the Waldorf School of the Arts in Melbourne, Byrne devoted her time to learning guitar and piano and developed her songwriting repertoire. Crafting a unique, unexpected blend of styles, her sharp, moving songwriting captures listeners from the very first note.
HEAVY DOORS – OUT NOW
1. I Never Played The Game
2. Sweeter Than Sugar
3. Smoke Inside
4. Come Down vs Calm Down
5. The Evening
7. Good Idea
8. Broken Baby
9. Loving You Is Lonely
10. If I Needed You