Life. Death. Love. Hate. Like the ying and yang that form Taoist philosophy, the dichotomy of all things is explored in minute detail on CARNIVAL OF MYSTERY, the debut album from observationist Jack Harlan.
On and off recording and mixing sessions for two years, an array of producers, this effort is one "that will not pigeon-hole me - for I have taken a little Leonard Cohen, a little Neil Diamond, a little Glen Cambell, as well as the stuff I presently get something from and I am making my own thing." states Harlan.
CARNIVAL OF MYSTERY is dark tales of broken anthems, of mercy and missed answers. Jack's usual vocal/guitar set-up is blended sonically with everything from Meletrons, to Greek mandolins, to tiki lounge. The album for the most part is blue in tone; half of the tunes are written and resonate with the minor chord that Harlan feels he emits as a person. "I describe myself as a blues singer who is able to stand on the outside and look in...it's a pretty good therapy session-naked, bloody and harsh-but with a white dove in my subconscious."
On CARNIVAL OF MYSTERY, Jack has admitted to changing things sonically from his usually stark, bone-like, country blues live show. "This record just turned out this way. I was going for continuity - cause we were losing that at times in the sessions. I had all this mid-tempo and slow stuff that seemed to work well-I say there is enough mid-tempo ballads on this album to please any Lloyd Cole fan." BREATHE OF HEAVEN, the opening track, can best be described as a slow, steady gait that whispers a character's transformation from guilt to redemption. '
LATE HOME TONIGHT is a nighttime wondering piece for those who have grown tired of the bar-scene's forgotten hellos.
In GONE, morality is replaced with the words "...you want a piece of me, I'll take a piece of you and not apologize for what I lean on." What is obvious is that Jack Harlan's lyrics are a major focus of his music.
JUST A FOOL demonstrates insight into the realm of the abyss "...you went to the Doctor, even though you had just been there to see him. He wonders why he practices when you tell 'em your reasons."
WE'VE COME THIS FAR TO SAY GOOD-BYE Jack calls, "...my Neil Diamond number-not afraid to show those 'love on the rocks' feelings."
Musically, Jack Harlan is in a state of experimentation on CARNIVAL OF MYSTERY, trying every tightrope and using every sideshow instrument to make his mark as an artist who will not make every record the same.