Harlequin may be the debut proper from Los Angeles' Alex Izenberg but it marks the culmination of over five years of highly prolific writing and recording under a variety of pseudonyms.
The album is almost a study in distraction - a restless, feverish dream-sequence which variously invokes Scott Walker’s obtuse, off-kilter worlds of sound, Simon and Garfunkel's psychedelic yet practical string arrangements, the vaudevillian pomp and preening of Wild Beast's early material and Grizzly Bear's pastoral early steps. All this is cut through with moments of total silence, patches of noise, found sound and countless dynamic left-turns and moment of non-sequitur. It sees the reclusive young artist marry a natural gift for naive and romantic melody with a wild sonic adventurousness born of a genuinely eccentric nature.
The album is a colourful, imp-like fantasy of a record, full of concealed charm and mischief - the personalities of its strings, the horns and the echoes of the myriad rooms in which it was recorded all coming alive as supporting characters in its winding plot. Yet for all this complexity it is also still a deeply human and relatable record at its core. Very much a hometown record, it takes its cues from the way in which fiction and reality are at constant play in everyday life in a city unlike no other; setting simple, universal tales of love, loss, grief and confusion against the heat, haze, magic and madness of the Los Angeles of Izenberg's vivid imagination.
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