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Gretta Harley - Element 115 (Uup)

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In the science lab Element 115 is the superheavy artificial element called Ununpentium (Uup), an unstable little fellow that collapses into its component elements as soon as it comes into existence. Needless to say, Element 115 has no practical uses. Rest assured the same can't be said about Harley's album of the same name; it'll be around a lot longer and delightfully so. There is a connection here though; Harley says the album was inspired by a brief but intense love relationship. Knowing that, glimpses of the relationship's demise are palpable in songs like the acoustic guitar driven "Stars" where lines like "I love big, and I give space, because I need space" imply that the sentiment was not always returned. The song is very dreamy though, as is the entire album, and if Harley is bitter about the break-up she really doesn't show it here, although songs like the delicate-to-loud "Tap Tapping Branch" gets its message of discontent across with vigor. All the instruments are played by Harley and producer Kramer, who having worked with the likes of White Zombie and GWAR might seem an unlikely choice to polish this set of sophisticated pop. But the results are often stunning, like on "Can't Find My Words" where between Harley's piano playing, vocal phrasing and a bit of "Waking the Witch"-style effects, the song takes on a Kate Bush-like aura. An intriguing effort through and through.

Mettle Records
12" LP

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