In this review, I’m going to be delving into Scott Harter’s latest studio effort, ‘Fire On The Water.’ The five track EP is a dynamic effort that exhibits the Nashville singer songwriter’s potential through a variety of avenues. The sound is one described as a middle ground between Beck and John Mayer, utilizing organic, live instrumentation and analogue synths, all while placing a heavy emphasis on songwriting. But how does the effort hold up?
From the opening notes of the record, Harter’s Nashville influence is abundantly apparent. ‘Dark Horse’ is a slickly produced romp through independent singer/songwriter rock. It’s foot-tapping, feel-good rock and roll with incredible instrumentation that builds like a cacophony of sound around Harter. “I run like the dark horse,” he croons as a searing electric guitar emerges out of the wall of sound to accent a dark, moody atmosphere chock-full of personality and prowess. As introduction, ‘Dark Horse’ immediately defines Harter as an infectiously talented songwriter.
As a music critic, I’m inundated on a daily basis by artists who call themselves singer songwriters. More so, I’m constantly drowning in their acoustic love crooning’s. It’s become somewhat of a painful stereotype in the scene. With ‘Looking For A Friend,’ however, Harter masters what is elegant and beautiful about a love song. He doesn’t employ the usual stereotypes that’ll make you roll your eyes or hit the skip button. It’s a sharply written, superb excursion that every other indie singer songwriter could learn something from.
‘What Are We Waiting For’ is a soft-spoken tune, residing in an atmosphere that’s a bit different than its predecessors. Harter does a nice job balancing an acoustic and electric composition here, although in some ways he doesn’t fully extend either hand. Compared to other efforts this song feels slightly empty of purpose or expression, focusing more on reverberated “Oooohs” than it does anything profound or meaningful. Thus, I found the title track ‘Fire On The Water’ which follows, to be dramatically refreshing. It’s a stunning acoustic ballad written and performed hauntingly.
‘Just Like That’ culminates everything excellent about this EP into a fitting ending piece with a unique sense of finality. Harter defies nearly every stigma critics like myself have about singer songwriters on this record, creating a fresh experience jam packed with lovable instrumentation and lyrical content. It’s very, very much worth your time when it drops in December. It’s a highlight of this season of indie music.