“Made of Things” by harris

Sonic brutality of a more muted quality slowly spurs forth the groove at the start of “Made of Things,” the new single from harris, but as we’re going to discover in the next few minutes of this radio edit of the song, there’s really no limit to the melodic sadism that this singer/songwriter will explore if it means making a more emotional climax. This is a player who, for all intents and purposes, has everything going for him as a singer, and yet he’s focused as much on experimenting with the backdrop as he is perfecting his primary attack.

Although I could have used a little more bass out of this song in a couple of spots, I can understand the desire to strip the bottom end of anything that could have impeded the delivery from the percussion. Truth be told, I think the drums have just as loud of a voice as harris does in this performance, and it’s entirely deliberate on the part of our leading man. He’s got patience with every part of this arrangement, but the drums aren’t having it – they’re the yin to his yang, and they’re providing us immense juxtaposition within the lyrical structure as well.

My favorite part of this track is the chorus when everything feels like it’s going to come apart under our vocalist’s fingers and yet the controlled chaos sustains a beauty that I rarely see or hear outside of the post-rock community. There’s no debating whether or not this guy takes some influence from that genre’s postmodernity, but I like that he isn’t overindulging in it here. He’s being careful to avoid a liberal sonic component in the arrangement, which is more than I can say about a lot of the artists who have been scoring praise for their work in this scene.

There’s so much crunch in the dissonant guitar element here just waiting to be tapped into, but that moment never comes for “Made of Things;” it remains buried in a faraway part of the mix almost begging for us to turn the volume up and explore it. It’s this unrequited catharsis that gave me the most to think about when analyzing the lyrics for the track beside the general concept of the music, and if this is just a taste of what this singer/songwriter can do when he feels something real in the studio, I cannot wait to hear more.

It’s been a very rough winter season in indie rock, but this is a shard of magic that I hope to be seeing from the underground on a more permanent basis in 2023. From what I can tell, harris is very much the real deal in this performance, and I don’t think he’s going to have a hard time keeping up with the competition as time presses forward. If anything, this is a guy I expect to be setting the tempo rather than trying to stay on pace with anyone else in his scene, which in itself is something to applaud.

Clay Burton