It was recorded with Dani Castelar (Paolo Nutini, REM, Snow Patrol) in Valencia at the start of the year and was funded by Island Records after Harry was picked as the winner of #Roadtothe100Club, a competition by a new platform, called Meet & Jam, in association with PRS for Music.
He’s getting much traction from BBC Introducing who have consistently supported him, and on May 19 he’s been invited to play at the O2 Oxford Academy as part of their BBC Introducing Oxford’s Uprising showcase.
Harry “loves performing live” and is constantly playing shows across the country. Last year he clocked up over two hundred shows, and he is now on a UK headline tour which started at The Bedford, London.
To start with is a trip to “Fletcher Bay”, which rings in, reverberating, gently. Then the earnest guitar and subsequent vocals kick in. Lines like, “Explore the skies” prove the searching scope of the song. Beyond the midway comes a vocal refrain, excellent dynamics.
“Yet nine years have passed/Since these views touched our hearts/I can’t believe we can come back, again/But I’ve returned to say that I will leave and you will stay/Your heart, your soul belongs at Fletcher Bay” is therefore heard with excellent clarity. Piano lightly tinkles, like the ethereal spirit of Harry’s late father.
Following that, you come upon an “Old Friend”. It has a soulful vocal backed with rocky defiance and power. “I’m never gonna let go of your hands” a tight grip on, perhaps, childhood pals, more than acquaintances. A bluesy guitar rocks out like salt of the earth grit.
The drums, however simple, hammers with an industrial power. Again, a moment of clarity with almost everything dropping out to lend light to the words sung. “There are times when I’m feeling alright/And then I’m walking straight lines and I lose my sight/I always could talk to you with my eyes, but then you took yours away and now I feel so blind” is clever and packs a punch of rock cool and rebellion.
Then there’s only the “Real Souls”. This one is sedate before seeming to double up and grow in acoustic intensity. “I’m heading away from the endless chasing/From this needless pacing, now/Where the rats they ain’t racing” perhaps helps justify the frantic energy established on the doubled up guitar. “Shirts and ties/Walking heads high/With the pound signs in their eyes…never comes as any surprise” perhaps a dab at social commentary.
Are these soulless people, the ones he describes in those very lyrics? Is he searching for real souls, unlike those aforementioned? “All you real hearts/Don’t be shut out in the dark/Let ‘em see your sparks” and “All you real souls, don’t you hide out in the cold/Let yourselves be known” perhaps answers this question. Having finished his quest for said salt of the earth, the track comes to an end.
A step “Into The Dark” is another venture into the blues, maybe this time more rocking in its instrumentation. “They say you can count your/Your friends on one hand/And those are the people who just don’t understand just how/You can bury your head in the sand” mixes well with the rocking fervour, dramatic and reckless.
Strains of organ are heard followed by an emphatic workout, however brief, with bass and drum. The former grooves and the latter just locks it in as the vocals hum soulfully, so much so like the depth of feeling of the chained on the slave ships of many a yesteryear.
Title track, “The Wild Winds”, goes back to the earnest acoustic material that started the piece. “I know it’s your time/To lookout from the skies” hints at the wild winds that grace the EP’s title. It’s like, and sounds, the mournful feeling of letting someone go, but also the joy in seeing them spread their wings, too.
Particular highlights are “Old Friend”, “Real Souls” and “The Wild Winds”. These cover the approximate middle and end of the EP. This is a good spread, and even opener, “Fletcher Bay”, is nothing to turn your nose at. The odd one out, the rocking “Into The Dark”, maybe deviates a little too much from the others. It fulfils your desire in pondering if he’s capable of that kind of sound, though.
Harry Pane has the heartthrob, soulful tones arguably akin to the likes of Ed Sheeran. You could argue his sound is far more diverse, though. The course of this project seems to go from singer songwriter acoustic, to things more bluesy and then rocking out. It then comes full circle come the last track. A piece of perfect symmetry. Harry Pane’s The Wild Winds EP can be purchased here.
Words by Andrew Watson