“Delivery” by Mikaela Davis – Review
Reviewed by Scales
When you hear “classically trained harpist,” funky/ pop music is one of the last things that comes to mind. Yet here we are talking about one of the most original albums of the summer. The unique instruments, interesting songs and exotic sounds, give “Delivery” a uniqueness that makes this album special. It’s an album that explores the sounds a harp can add to modern music while also giving artists like Joanna Newsom a run for her money.
The unique instruments, interesting songs and exotic sounds, give “Delivery” a uniqueness that makes this album special
The album is not perfect, however. A few of the lyrics are a bit lacking, while the vocals feel a bit too-embellished at times. Basically, it’s someone trying to sound too much like Sufjan Stevens. This has been done better elsewhere and frankly is starting to sound a bit played out to me. Generally, the songs that are slower fail to pique my interest. While they are admittedly very pretty, they fail to highlight the instrumentation that makes this album unique and fall into the ruts that “Harp Pop” (a word I just made up) falls into. While slower songs like “A Letter that I’ll Never Send” and “Emily” are ok, they are what one might expect from a classically trained harpist and, fail to truly do anything unique.
Still, when the catchy basslines, smooth synth and gorgeous harp combine, it’s a sound for sore ears. Take for example the song “In My Grove;” The harp takes the role of the electric guitar in a traditional alternative song but, without the electric guitar grit associated with it. This mix-up gives what may have created; a sub-par indie song more of a chill funk feeling to it. It’s this type of unique combination that makes this album stand out. In the song “Other Lover,” The harp takes center stage providing flourishes throughout the song. Being complemented with a bass that fills in where the song would otherwise feel half baked. This perfect timing of instrumentation allows the harp to take center stage, without being a gimmick. Perhaps the best song on the album is “Get Gone”. It provides a fun collage of strings in constant flux. The constant sonic change keeps the song interesting far longer then it has any right to be. Add Davis’s voice to round the track out and you have one of the best songs of the year. Another highlight was the song “Pure Devine Love”. It has a harp / sitar combination that calls to mind many Beatle songs. However, this song sounds much cleaner. Is this clean sound a testament or modern recording techniques or, just a different style of song writing? Frankly, it sounds so good that I don’t need to know!
The constant sonic change keeps the song interesting
Overall, “Delivery” is an interesting, creative album that at times, subverts expectations for what “Harp Pop” should sound like. Songs like “Get Gone” and “Pure Devine Love” are pure-fire and were refreshing highlights of my summer soundtrack. There were some lows on the album however, and while not every track “lands”, I wouldn’t expect them to. Sometimes experimentation leads to some duds. “Delivery” has some truly special songs on it that shows the artists’ relentless creativity only starting to be tapped. It provides a basis for a follow-up that I’m eagerly awaiting.
Edited by Chet Rengers
You can listen to “Delivery” below: