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Harrod and Funck

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Album Review

Five years after the release of their first album, Jason Harrod and Brian Funck finally returned with a follow-up. This CD is a considerably more consistent listen than their very promising debut, Dreams of the Color Blind. Their songwriting has matured considerably (although their lyrics still occasionally seem forced or sophomoric). The superlative production on Color Blind is a tough act to follow, however, as it was the most inventive work of the late, great Mark Heard. The producer this time around is Ric Hordinski, the talented guitarist who helped found Over the Rhine. Hordinski would seem to be an excellent match for the Boston-based folk duo, because he has always done with electric guitars what Harrod & Funck do with acoustics: create three-dimensional, ambient landscapes of sound. But there is considerably less ambience under Hordinski's direction than under Heard's; the unique "hypnotized" acoustic sound the boys created so early in their careers has been largely de-emphasized in this album. There are still plenty of acoustic guitars (a few of the tracks have been recorded with almost nothing else), but often their familiar, mesmerized looping sound has been overshadowed by electric guitars — either glossy '90s radio-style jangling or an intentionally strange, vaguely Talking Heads-like sound. In the latter case, the guitars seem to have been re-recorded a few speeds slower than they were played. The originality of the production is intriguing, once you get used to the change, and to the fact that Funck's most accessible songs ( "Ashes," "Wind in the Net") have been stylistically subverted. But Hordinski has perhaps failed to play to the band's strengths; he has also made the pair's harmonies virtually inaudible. Harrod's earnest tenor is a perfect counterpoint to Funck's resonant bass, and by themselves, both voices can sound like extremes in need of tempering. Regardless of the weaknesses, however, Harrod & Funck is a significant step forward for a talented pair of singer/songwriters.

Customer Reviews

Great Album

I do not consider myself to be any great music critic. All I have to say is that I thoroughly enjoy listening to this album. It has become one of the most listened to favorites in my collection. I highly recomend this album to anyone who likes folk music and acoustic guitars.

legendary duo

anyone who takes the time to really listen to every word of truth on this album will be better for it. a few tracks are a tad overproduced, but no big deal. '39' is a haunting opener written about longing for heaven, written as a letter to the 39 members Heaven's Gate cult that committed mass suicide. 'Ashes' is an amazing anthem with all kinds of spiritual imagery. 'All Fall Down' is about growing out of the oversimplifications of youth and into an adult faith that's ever wracked with doubt. 'Brian Wilson's Room' is a nice song, but not my fav. 'Molly' is a beautiful entry to the "murder ballad" tradition within folk music. 'Wind in the Net' is a dark journey to simple faith. 'Your Voice at Tidewater' is a powerful song about how emotions and faith interact. 'Walk Into The Wild' is a profound retelling of the story of Christopher McCandless, made famous by Jon Krakauer's bestselling book and Sean Penn's movie. This song should have been added to Vedder's for the movie soundtrack, but maybe it got a little too analytical for Sean Penn's liking. 'Something' is one of the strangest songs you'll ever hear about Jesus. 'Lion Song' has been covered by many an artist, despite these guys being relatively unknown. It's simply one of the most beautiful folk songs ever written. 'Worry Too Much' is a cover of the great Mark Heard's song about the modern world in decay.

This is truly good music

Great acoustics, great harmony.
Stop And Stare is my favorite, but they are all good.
BTW, learned of this defunct duo from the Christian, Under The Radar, podcast.

Biography

Born: 1990

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

Jason Harrod and Brian Funck met as students at Wheaton College in Illinois, after friends recognized a similarity in their atmospheric folk songs and introduced the two guitarists. They were "discovered" in 1991 when they opened for Brooks Williams, a highly respected figure in the Boston folk scene, at a Wheaton concert. Williams reportedly was so moved that he almost refused to play his own set, and subsequently introduced the pair to Mark Heard, who agreed to produce their first album, Dreams...
Full Bio