Kyp Harness is a Canadian singer-songwriter that hasn’t quite captured the success of his counterparts, but both Daniel Lanois and Ron Sexsmith advocate Harness as “A great songwriter” and “My favourite songwriter” – So, I’m pretty sure with backing like that, there’s something pretty damn special about him.
The Wrong Way/Can A Poor Man Get A Fair Trial? are two separate releases – released together; already a gutsy move in this electronic age and having also just put out Resurrection Gold in 2011, I’m going in concerned about quantity over quality. In addition, Harnees’ voice is less than ideal and is an acquired taste sounding like a mix between Robyn Hitchcock and Bob Dylan (circa 80’s), although like those artists, the wordy and inspired lyrical content will win you over.
The Wrong Way is a collection of pop songs that vary from loose and playful 60’s pop (“The Wrong Way”, “True Blue” and “Lovely Christmas”) and beautiful ballads (“Baby Gets The Blues”, “There Is A Place” and “Start Anew”). The album balances these songs perfectly and Harness creates memorable melodies that go quite well with his wordplay – so much so that by the third listen I was already singing along without even realizing it.
On Can A Poor Man Get A Fair Trial? Harness sounds a bit more at home with standard folk and country traditions. Opening track, “Wonderful To See” sounds much more confident than anything off The Wrong Way; and this continues on to “The Old Crone In The Forest”, “Prince Of Dreams” and “The King And The Pauper” all which are clearly inspired by Leonard Cohen. Really, there is not a song on Fair Trial that I don’t enjoy and it definitely deserves a closer listen as there are deeper themes and emotions that I probably missed on first listen.
Overall, Kyp Harness lives up to the praise of his peers and clearly with these collection of songs there seems to be no end to his lyrical prowess and his ability to manipulate them into any style of music. (Independent)
The Wrong Way: 3/5 Stars & Can A Poor Man Get A Fair Trial?: 4/5 Stars