By Bonnie Dowler, Second Year English and Philosophy
I have to say, from the first few songs performed by the Mancunian trio, I was sceptical as to whether they were my thing. Still, I endeavour to keep my review as fair as possible.
While their music wasn’t terrible (particularly the guitar-heavy tracks ‘Bite Down’ and ‘Animals’) I couldn’t help but be put off by certain elements of the lead singer Josh Taylor’s stage performance. For example, Taylor wore a black leather skirt, which - midway through the set, abandoned to leave him women’s tights. He then turned towards the audience, arms stretched out triumphantly, expecting a cacophony of applause. It was as if he was the first cis man to experiment with gender non-conformity on stage. I think the boys need a history lesson. Personally, I feel Taylor’s performance came off gimmicky and calculated - trying too hard to appear edgy and appeal to a more alternative audience.
However, settling into Taylor’s gimmicky performance style, I realised I was being too hard on the boys. Taylor gave his audience a performance bursting at the seams with energy which really helped to shock life into the otherwise stagnated energy of the room. Fittingly, a few fans I got chatting to mentioned they became fans of the band after stumbling across their set at festivals, or some such event, and being struck by Taylor’s stage presence. And in all fairness, if I happened to stumble by The Hara’s set, I think I would open Spotify in a fury of curiosity too.
In terms of what they were actually playing, they didn’t sound too bad. Although, the heavier songs were much better than their Yungblud-copycat pop-punk attempts such as ‘We Wear All Black’ (currently their most streamed song on Spotify) I would even go as far as to say the heavier performances (special shout-out to ‘Trash Brain’, which slaps) sounded like fledgling Royal Blood. Nevertheless, their few decent songs did not muster enough motivation to push me over the mountain of cringe pervading other songs, such as the ear-splitting autotune in ‘Fool and the Thief’.
To be honest, I just don’t think they were my thing. I can imagine this isn’t the last we’ll see of the Hara, although I expect they will get bigger with a young/pre-teen fan base. A fan base, that is, that won’t be able to see Taylor’s gimmicks for what they are. Which, now I think about it, might be their target audience since they spent the early years of their career playing in secondary schools around the country. One thing for sure, the Fleece was a step up from the school canteen.
What do you think of The Hara?