Seven seconds into the opening Afterglow, it is impossible not to state the obvious here; Harriet’s vocal instantly reminds you of Karen Carpenter. A huge compliment to anyone. But unless you are looking to win Stars In Their Eyes, it perhaps creates more problems than benefits. After all, Harriet surely wants to sound like Harriet. After some attention from Radio 2, with Graham Norton and Ken Bruce among her fans, the Hertfordshire singer is now looking to build on that with her debut album and establish her own personality.
Harriet says that as a child she was rocket to sleep listening to The Carpenters and obviously that influence has seeped through, because as well as the voice, this collection of 12 songs has that fragile elegance of the likes of Solitaire or Close To You. Afterglow and Broken For You are perfect radio playlist fodder. At times it feels like the handbrake is on and the safety valve needs to be released, as some of the songs float by, leaving on a passing impression. But things get more interesting on the likes of Take That style of Fly or Love Will Burn, with its epic orchestral sweeps and darker tones that remind you of a Bond theme, as Harriet sings about wounds that heal over time.
More subtle are the charms of the Judie Tzuke co-write First And Last, which feels like a song that’s been around for forty years. The stand out moment here though is the delicious Broken For You, which has been around the airwaves for a while now. Steve Anderson’s production has blended Harriet’s perfect tones over a sublime melody that weaves its way into your soul. More of this in the future will be very welcome.
Many singers have come and gone who have ‘the voice’ but lack the tunes. Harriet has both and also a stunning blue-eyed smile to match the beauty of her warm vulnerable vocals. You’re likely to hear and see a lot more of her over the next few years.