Big Harp shift gears dramatically on third full-length ‘Waveless’

(Photo by Jess Ewald)

(Photo by Jess Ewald)

Big Harp (Majestic Litter)
3.5 stars out of 5

Husband-and-wife duo Big Harp (Chris Senseney and Stefanie Drootin-Senseney) exploded onto the scene in 2011 with near-perfect debut album “White Hat.” The sublime mix of indie rock, Americana and pop was one of my favorite records of that year. They changed things up pretty noticeably for 2013 sophomore slab “Chain Letters,” a rock-solid offering that dabbled more in electric blues and roots rock.

Big Harp CDFor album No. 3, Big Harp — now a trio featuring drummer Daniel Ocanto — have shifted gears yet again. “Waveless” is another good record, but it bears almost no resemblance whatsoever to their sparkling debut. That sonic evolution, Senseney explains, is no accident.

“The truth is Big Harp doesn’t really exist,” he says. “It’s kind of a catch-all that covers whatever Stef and I and now Daniel feel like doing at any particular time. None of our albums are really related to each other. We don’t typically perform back catalog material; in fact, most of our songs have only been performed BEFORE they were recorded.”

“Waveless” finds Big Harp diving headfirst into indie rock — “The music is fuzzy and poppy and kind of trashy,” Senseney says — and while it might take someone expecting more of the same a while to get used to, it is very enjoyable in its own way. The opening tandem of “Waves” and “Golden Age” sets the tone and Big Harp later score with “Image,” “Opera Lights,” personal favorite “Disappear” and “It’s Over.”

Who knows where Big Harp will take their music next. But you can believe that I am happy to go along for the ride. (Jeffrey Sisk)

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