|Stan Says:||Jodi Says:|
|I’ve wondered about Harvard for a while. Jesse Clausen fronts this band and yet my introduction to him was in his other project, the Bear Romantic. It has occurred to me that I can’t tell which is his primary focus as both bands seem to get equal attention and energy from Jesse. Just like in the Bear Romantic, Jesse fronts Harvard. His stage presence is amazing and captivating. It’s not like he does anything unique or showy, Jesse is just the kind of performer one likes to watch perform. No matter what band he’s in, he puts forth a great show. Jesse’s voice is also quite recognizable, though he’s not just the singer, he also plays guitars, keyboards and incredibly a trombone in addition to other instruments, like a glockenspiel. This band definitely has a harder edge to it and their music always seems to have a very nice beat. Two guitars bring out some of their history as a band with the “shoegaze” sound of a wall of sound swirling and delayed guitar. The driving bass, riding along with the drum beats is great. What gets me about this band is that there is a large amount of complexity in their music, yet it’s all very accessible.
When we saw Harvard at Tremont, they were the opening act. I really want to see a greater or larger performance by them. They are a headlining ready band. I say that not only on the strength of Jesse Clausen, the entire band shines as fantastic musicians and their music is immediately captivating. One thing I noticed at this show was that there are the occasions where the sound is rocking out loud, then soft with quiet vocals, then rocking out again. I noted that though this pattern seems reminiscent of bands like the Pixies or Nirvana, they way Harvard presents it is not like those bands at all, which is an achievement unto itself.
Speaking with Jesse after the show, I asked about how it is that they’re named HARVARD, yet often I’m seeing them listed as either H RV RD or even HRVRD. Spaces and vowels are important, what’s going on there? Jesse said that at first it was just something to make them stand out, taking out the vowels. Now it’s more like that’s the direction their name is going because it does stand out more. Originally to throw people off kind of thing, they like it more and more like that. So no matter how you see their name, Harvard, HARVARD, H RV RD or HRVRD, see them. Recently they’ve been signed to Equal Vision Records and I greatly look forward to their next release.
|The band formerly known as Harvard is now known as HRVRD. They are Tim on Drums, Jesse Clasen on Vocals, Garrett on Bass, Lee on Guitar and also Jason on Guitar. Their sound is clean, melodic, and very soulful. If I had to classify them, Iâ€™d call them Indie Rock. They do have a little of that shoegaze sound to them with the â€śwall of guitarsâ€ť going on at times, though not as prominent as Cement Stars, who is also a local Charlotte based band. They also bring out other instruments on occasion, such as a trombone, keyboards and if I recall properly a triangle.
The songs that I heard this night were mostly slow songs. Jesse is also the main idea man behind the Bear Romantic and as weâ€™d seen Bear Romantic first, HRVRD does also remind me of that band, but mostly just in the way the lyrics and songs flow over you. HRVRD songs seem to all be written with a story and have something to say. Song after song, they progressively went in a more psychedelic mood eventually reminding me greatly of Pink Floyd. On occasion, Jesse yells into the mic and in this way he emphasizes something briefly in a song. Fortunately he doesnâ€™t over do it! I very much enjoy his singing style.
Overall I wish I had seen a larger set of theirs as we only heard maybe 4 songs while they were on stage since they were the opening act this evening. Iâ€™d hoped to maybe have a chance at writing down some song titles, but I didnâ€™t hear any being announced. Perhaps next time Jesse can toss a few at the crowd. I am not a huge fan of songs lingering on, and sometimes this does happen in their exploration of a song.
When you are in the mood for something a little different, but also containing rock energy, check them out!