Oh Boy (Female Fantasy Records)
Reviewed by Elise Barbin, Fri., March 22, 2019
Harlem last left us in the Year of Our Lord 2010, evangelizing the tail end of garage-pop's comeback wave. Back for their third LP nearly 10 years later, Michael Coomers and Curtis O'Mara still lay in reverb-laden bubblegum influences, this time taking a more subdued route by opting for keys over busted guitar amps. Amidst the album's largely forgettable lyrics sits a slew of oddly disparate pop culture call-outs to Princess Di, the Beatles, and Lana Del Rey. Cocaine yacht rock ditty "Dreams Is Destiny" offers a glint of Harlem's preciously wild ways viewed from the lens of a washed-out memory, a prescient metaphor for the duo's mindset. What churns disappointment is glimpsing the could-have-been: an album of grown-up, exploratorive, pop sensibility. Modern analog to the Beach Boys' Sunflower, perhaps, Oh Boy instead clocks in too wearisome for a comeback.