When I originally read the title of Cariad Harmon’s debut record, Four Letters, since I’m a jaded little grump, I thought it was referring to obscene words like fuck, shit, and damn. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Upon listening to the album, I realized the title track speaks of a sweet, happy word that also has four letters in it: love. The lyrics on the record mainly focus on relationship issues; standard topics such as the happiness, sadness, frustration, or glee that love can bring.
Four Letters is a well-crafted debut that’s undeniably relaxing to listen to. The first track “Let it Go,” is a sad, yet hopeful tune. For me, it brings to mind the sort of song one might hear during a film in which the two main characters are estranged lovers missing each other. From what I understand, Harmon has done some work writing music for films in the past, so this might allude to her skill in crafting this specific mood.
One highlight was the delightful coffeehouse jazz flavor I picked up on a couple of times. A good example of this is the delicately sassy track “Hurricane” — upright bass and piano do a playful dance around Harmon’s vocals as she sweetly sings about the frustration of being left waiting around.
I’m sure this album would be an enjoyable listen for fans of Sarah McLachlan, Cat Power, and any other individuals (like me) who lament the end of happy summer days spent frolicking at Lilith Fair. When the festival returns (in the summer of 2010) perhaps we’ll see Cariad Harmon on the roster.
(MOWO! Inc., 215 East 80th Street, Suite 5G, New York, NY 10075 )