Master guitarist and multi-instrumentalist is back with her latest, Honeymoon Suite which is out June 17th via Hand Mirror, the label Harkin founded in 2019 with her wife, poet Kate Leah Hewett. With a week to go before the album, the UK artist has shared a single, “Here Again” featuring brass by Nate Walcott (Bright Eyes) and Aaron Roche (Lower Dens, Sufjan Stevens, Anohni, Flock of Dimes).
This single is the second released from the forthcoming album after she released “Body Clock”, with a video animated by British pixel animation studio Pastel Castle. And these singles are the first releases since Harkin’s debut self-titled album in 2020, right as the world was entering a lock down.
Harkin spoke about why she chose to go with Pastel Castle for the video, saying “I was a big fan of Pastel Castle’s work and felt like this song would be a perfect fit. I wrote and recorded it during lockdown in a flat with no outdoor space. My brother loaned me a Nintendo Switch and I found solace in games with large maps to explore. Songwriting and gameplay can both have the power to transport and the video Pastel Castle has created takes me on a beautiful and perilous quest.”
Her latest album is very similar to the creation of this latest song as well in that it was all written, recorded, and produced within the parameters of a single room.
The album grew into a testament of a DIY spirit as well as persistence and self-expression.
In the midst of the pandemic, both Harkin- a touring musician and member of Sleater-Kinney, Wild Beasts, Flock of Dimes, and Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett’s Sea Lice- and her wife moved back home to the UK after living in Hudson, New York upon realizing they wouldn’t have work while the pandemic went on.
Honeymoon Suite track list:
1. Body Clock
2. A New Day
3. Here Again
4. Matchless Lighting
5. (Give Me) The Streets of Leeds
6. Mt. Merino
7. Talk Of The Town
8. To Make Her Smile
9. Listening Out
10. Driving Down A Flight Of Stairs
It was also during the pandemic that Harkin and her wife’s wedding turned digital. The album catches a stillness Harkin was not accustomed to along with having to celebrate love and mourn loss confined to a single room. And from that this latest album was born, also being Harkin’s first time self-producing.
‘Honeymoon Suite’ is “a ship in a bottle of that time”, says Harkin. The navigation of those emotions are what wrought this album. “Being my own mirror was ego-crushing at times; I knew these songs deserved extra gusto that I had to outsource.”
And that outsource was where digital connection came in, a fight to reconnect. Brass by Nate Walcott and Aaron Roche, slide guitar by J.R. Bohannon (Torres) and backing vocals by Sophie Galpin (Soft Lad, Self Esteem) came in, sent from each other’s respective home. It was even mixed and mastered remotely (mixed by Jeff T Smith in Leeds and mastered by Guy Davie in London).
Harkin summarized adding “for me, this album was a rabbit hole and escape hatch. It’s a very vulnerable record. There are no performances – I made it alone. Releasing it into the world feels like an extension of the solitary process and remote collaboration which created it. I hope it travels far and wide.”
By Antonio Villaseñor-Baca