REVIEW: Nathan Harrington — Over the Mountain (SINGLE)

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Born of acoustic simplicity but often feeling as multilayered as something you would expect out of a symphony, there are a lot of moving parts to “Over the Mountain” and yet only two of any real relevance or weight — the guitar and the lead vocal, both of which come sourced from Nathan Harrington himself. Harrington, a singer/songwriter who has been gaining steam in the underground over the past two years, delivers an able performance in both this track and its accompanying music video, and while his is a style of reggae that doesn’t exactly change the model in any particularly antiestablishment fashion, this isn’t to say that his sound is somehow unoriginal.

Quite the contrary is true — in a performance like that which we find in this single, we are introduced to a singer and songwriter who is humble in his melodic dispatches and gentle in even the most passionate of lyrical lashings, and although he isn’t the only indie up and comer worth your time right now, he’s definitely among my favorite new finds this month. December is always a rough chunk of the year for the independent beat (let alone in the midst of a pandemic), but here, we find a true diamond in the rough.

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/nathanharringtonmusic/

The structure of this song is rooted in progressive reggae, but I don’t get the feeling that it was particularly important for Harrington to separate himself from the puritan movement the genre has seen coming to prominence in the past three years. There’s nothing overtly adherent to what most of the acts in that league have been producing in 2020 outside of some common aesthetical foundations you could just as soon find anywhere in alternative music across the world, but this isn’t the only reason why I’m reticent to give this singer/songwriter a specific labeling.

The harmony is the most cohesive part in “Over the Mountain,” and while the seamless production quality does a lot to spotlight his gifts, it doesn’t atone for any of his shortcomings (it inadvertently highlights them as well). Simply put, Harrington is too human and versatile to submit himself to any so-called ‘movement,’ and if that wasn’t well-known before the debut of this new song, I think people are going to start getting a clue soon.

I only heard the music of Nathan Harrington for the first time in 2020, but it didn’t take me very long to recognize the kind of raw talent he’s working with at such an early stage in his career. He’s got an abundant amount of versatility that still isn’t getting as much of a workout as I’d like it to, but in all honestly this new content is a heck of a lot stronger than what his closest rivals on the mainstream side of the FM dial have been doing in the past ten months.

Quarantine pop has its place, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something really familiar about this young man’s sound that I want to hear even more of. I doubt I’m alone in that, but I recommend you find out for yourself anyway.

Colin Jordan

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