Jeremy & The Harlequins
With the release of second album, Into the Night, New York five-piece Jeremy & The Harlequins are building on the momentum of last year’s debut, American Dreamer. Not only was one of that record’s songs – ‘Trip Into The Light’ – featured in the Tom Cruise movie Edge Of Tomorrow, it was also voted as the Coolest Song in the World of 2015 by the listeners of Little Steven’s Underground Garage radio show, after Bruce Springsteen’s right hand man, Steve Van Zandt, personally picked it as his coolest track in the world for the month of July.
But that was last year, and Jeremy & The Harlequins are refusing to rest on their laurels. As such, Into the Night recalls the glamor of rock ‘n’ roll’s past while simultaneously forging forward into the future with attitude. Channeling the influences of 1950s and ’60s rock’n’roll through the (cell phone) camera lens of 2016, Jeremy & The Harlequins – Jeremy Fury (vocals), Craig Bonich and Patrick Meyer (guitars), Stevie Fury (drums) and Bobby Ever (bass) – have once again captured the sound of New York both in the here and now and the there and then. It’s a record about love and loss, tragedy and romanticism, dreams and reality, as well as everything in between, and its ten songs are at once familiar and fresh, a new friend it feels like you’ve known for decades.
“In both the pop music world and the indie music world,” explains Jeremy, “everything’s very electronic and very produced-sounding. In the indie world, everything seems like it’s long songs with no choruses and it doesn’t feel to me like something I’ll be singing along with in 20 years and going back to, and the pop world seems to have lost its human element. Music should make you feel something, and I don’t get that from much music nowadays, so we wanted to strip things down again and get back to the essence of rock’n’roll and pop music.”
That’s precisely what Into the Night does – from title to the artwork, the lyrics to the melodies and arrangements of these songs, everything has been created with the mythology of rock’n’roll in mind. Recorded at NY Hed Studios in the Lower East side with Matt and Rocio Verta-Ray, this album is the sound of a band who have truly found its groove – whether that’s the triumphant yet poignant title track, the woeful elegy of “For Angels” or the gentle jangle of “Let Her Run”, a classic American road trip song for the modern age.
“When we did the first record,” says Jeremy, “it was an exercise in trying to figure out how to record songs. Now there’s much more of a foundation, which is what we need to keep moving on and keep making music. If that record established who we are, I hope this one will expand our audience. There are a lot more dimensions on this new record. It goes to a few different places while staying within that American rock’n’roll nostalgia, and I want us to keep growing as a band.”
That’s an ambition that reveals the wonderful paradox of the band’s music – that it’s just as modern as it is retro. The songs might be steeped in romantic nostalgia – listen to the title track and you’ll swear it’s been stuck inside your head for decades – but they also address the present. And the future.
“I’d like to think that in some ways we can help change the modern world,” says Jeremy. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt at odds with it, but I feel like the world has evolved a little bit since we did the first album, and there is a place for what we do. And also, as with the first record, my hope is that in 50 or 100 years, if someone were to find it and listen to it, they’d be ‘Wait – it sounds like this, but it’s referencing all these things came out years later.’ I wanted to do something where I could have something new to say in music.”
It all started when Stevie, Jeremy’s brother, moved back to New York from Paris in 2014. They’d played music together before and wanted to do so again. Jeremy and Craig – who’d also been in bands together before – were already working on new music when Stevie returned, and it suddenly, it all clicked. They’d found their sound, and also a shared vision for what they wanted to do. That chemistry is clearly visible onstage when they play live, but, unusually, you can also hear it within the grooves of the record. Which is precisely why acclaimed label Yep Roc jumped on board to release this second full-length. Very much a part of the New York scene – and very much following the line of its heritage – the band, with this album, has managed to capture, the sense and the sound of the city they call home. Into the Night, as the very title suggests is a journey on numerous levels. It goes into and beyond the night, traversing the streets of the past, the present and the future, merging them all until they blend into just one path, a road weaving through New York’s avenues and streets and into the hearts and minds of a whole nation. “With this record,” explains Jeremy, “we want to go deeper into the process and into the story. Sometimes, to get out of something, you have to go into the darkness first. But you get through it and there’s this feeling of triumph. That’s the spirit of the record and that’s what it’s about.”