Since August of 2011, Harmonic Blue has continually experimented with a myriad of widespread musical styles, highlighting a reverence for classical pop, soul, jazz, rock and blues. Pulling influence from nearly every category of music, their own sound is a raw product of the very artists they have been inspired by. Together, lead singer Zach Field, guitarist Anthony Ajluni, bassist Gabe Bustos and drummer Sam Balcom create melody classified by an instinctual understanding of harmony and arrangement. Released in 2012, their seven song EP, Villa Borghese, demonstrates this same capacity for bridging earnest, solemn storytelling with moments of infectious elation. Expanding on that same dynamic is the first single from the group’s upcoming record, The Afternoonist. Depicting the suffocating constraints of the day-to-day, “Slice of Life,” finds the band merging nimble, arresting rhythms with a bare, sliding croon.
Over the course of three months in late 2013, the four members of Harmonic Blue built a basement recording studio in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland. Eager to capture the musical aura and working approach of their favorite records from the ‘70s and ‘80s, the at-home project quickly caught the attention of local Baltimore producer Chris Freeland. After joining forces, the band reassembled to finish what would become their first full-length album. And though The Afternoonist will not be released until February, “Slice of Life,” would indicate that the group found what they were looking for. Detailing the fear and insecurities of aging, Field takes the song’s driving, beveled melody and rides every wave, deftly illustrating how the pressures that surround us is what often feeds the current.
“Faces are starting to fade, along with my trust in these days”
“Slice of Life,” opens with the image of a woman alone at a bar, blankly staring ahead. After taking the last sip of an almost empty glass of beer, she stands up to leave. Dragging herself out the door, she’s only outside for a few moments before entering the diner next door. After dropping a plate of food on an unsuspecting Field, the narrative shifts as we follow him getting out of his seat and leaving. Traveling down the street in a stained T-shirt, Field slowly encounters the lifetime milestones that mark time for some and not for others. An image of him conversing with a bride and groom soon cuts to Field, in an orange jumpsuit, being pushed forward by a prison guard. From there, we see the daytime experiences of Ajluni, Bustos and Balcom, all appearing as characters on that same afternoon. Most memorably, the band is shown in matching blue pajamas, grey hair and make-up that ages them considerably. No longer looking like young men, Field sings about how it is surely the “beginning of the end.” And by humorously depicting the boring, mundane, ordinariness of getting older, Harmonic Blue has created a song and a video that portrays the frightening idea of unknowingly building a life you may not want.
Article by: Caitlin Phillips