Review: Harp :: ALBION

The ex-Midlae singer lives out his England fetish by transporting us to foggy British landscapes with folk noir.

Ten years ago, Tim Smith left the folk-rock ensemble Midlake due to musical differences, and they have been doing quite well without their singer and songwriter ever since. Smith, on the other hand, has been working on his solo project Harp with his wife Kathi at home in North Carolina. Now the release of his first album ALBION is finally coming, which is not that far removed from the sound of his ex-band.


Logical, because the painful high-pitched fever in Smith’s voice was already Midlake’s trademark, but he filtered out the rock elements of the former band in favor of a gentle folk noir with a sublime Englishness. Exactly: The native Texan has fallen for the gray skies of Great Britain; he is obsessed with the old villages, castles and churches of the British countryside.

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On ALBION – an ancient name for Great Britain, by the way – you are immediately transported to the barren landscapes from the novels of the Brontë sisters. Synthesizers that sound like sad foghorns let our eyes travel along the hazy meadows of the Lake District; for the song “Daughters Of Albion,” Smith was inspired by the British poet William Blake. All of this is always strongly driven by nostalgia; when you listen to it you are blown away by this wistful feeling of a time long gone. An album like a stack of faded photos of British raised moors.

Author: Michael Prenner