Haley Grant and Kalee Jasperson met in college and something magical happened. They began painting with music and pulled together to become the Harmaleighs. When you listen to their album, “Pretty Picture, Dirty Brush” it evokes softly textured images in softly filtered hues. It feels like opening up trunks in your grandmother’s attic and finding old treasures nested into yellowed tissue paper and scentless cedar chips. Folky, soulful, pretty, but not too sweet–“Pretty Picture, Dirty Brush” is absolutely worth your time.
“I paint my face every color. I do my body just the same.” The album opens with “Hesitate”, a song which covers that human thing we do where we put a false face on in order to hide our feelings and stay safe from being hurt. We’re all lying to keep our secrets. The harmonies are lush, the voices–dusty and nostalgic. The instrumentals are quick, lively, and not too loud.
“I Keep Ticking On” is catchy. It tells a story. The melody moves through difficult times and hard days nights and I keep ticking on. Everything will be alright in the end even though it will never be smooth sailing. The lyrics in this song are lovely, simple, poetic, and captivating. The harmonies are enough to add depth but not enough to feel pretentious.
“Doll Made of Glass” begins softly, slowly, admiringly. You’re watching someone you adore who doesn’t care about you. You see them enjoying their life and feel like you are going to break apart. The song is simple strumming and fingerpicking. There is some piano, some violin–they add depth and emotion.
If you like honey-sweet love songs that dissolve into a cup of warm memories–“I Found Myself in You” is your song. It’s delicious as a ripe pear off the tree, drenched in sunshine. I love the bare, rhythmic beginning of “Last One Standing”. Sometimes the simplicity rises into a cacophony of excited, passionate sound but only when it’s asked to.
“Pretty Livin'” is rollicking and easy. It’s also silly and fun–gently picking on the complaints of the upper class, comparing it to the simple, laid-back folk lifestyle. “Colorblind” features sweet, watercolor harmonies, a travelling rhythm, and wandering, searching lyrics.
This album is purely and modernly folk. If you like Brandi Carlile, Mumford and Sons, Ani DiFranco, or the Lumineers, you would probably really enjoy the Harmaleighs. Their sound is pure, sweet, and lovely. There is just enough harmony to make you want more. It’s bittersweet and dreamy. These ladies are touring the country with their guitar and upright bass, so you should go see their beautiful faces if they’re in your neighborhood.