‘Softly Harboured’ is the third album from Sydney six-piece Underlapper, and is the follow-up to their acclaimed 2007 release ‘Red Spring’. A brilliant collision between the band‘s upfront, energetic live shows and the electronic experimentation of the studio, the album continues familiar themes established throughout their career, pushed into dramatic new territory.
‘Softly Harboured’ is – unsurprisingly – an eclectic affair, combining elements of post rock, experimental pop and downbeat electronica. Yet, despite these seemingly disparate elements, the album is a cohesive listen from start to finish and undoubtedly stands as their most accessible work to date.
The album also sees a renewed focus on vocal performance, with strong lead deliveries from band members Greg Stone and Morgan McKellar, artfully augmented with a diverse selection of guest vocalists – including Alexi Kaye and Sally Stevens (from the now defunct female a cappella group Kaya), and Dan Cunningham and Tim Jenkins, from Sydney group Parades. There is also a return performance from Morgan’s sister, Holly McKellar – who first appeared with the band on ‘Red Spring’ and who here provides the lush lead vocal on opening track ‘Kandos’.
In addition, the band have enlisted the talents of renowned Sydney cellist Peter Hollo (Fourplay/Raven) who appears on a number of tracks and further expands the band’s already extensive musical palette.
With ‘Softly Harboured’, the band have chosen to eschew traditional distribution mechanisms and have instead enlisted the joint support of Feral Media (home to all Underlapper releases to date) and Canberra’s well-known HellosQuare Recordings. The labels will be working together to collaboratively release the album online – with CD version available from hellosquarerecordings.com and Vinyl + Digital from here at the Feral Media Bandcamp store.
The limited edition vinyl version of the album features five alternate sleeve designs created and assembled by some of Sydney’s most exciting artists, printed as black and white offset with a silver scratch-off overprint.
In support of the album, Underlapper will make their long awaited return to the stage with a launch in Sydney on April 21st 2011 as part of a New Weird Australia showcase at FBi Radio’s new venue – The FBi Social @ King’s Cross Hotel, supported by Cleptoclectics vs Scissor Lock, Edwin Montgomery and DJs Stupid Canon & Kimb Galercan. More info at newweirdaustralia.com.
Underlapper will also look to launch the album in Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane, details of which will be available shortly.