Live Review: Danny L Harle pushes boundaries with industrial pop track '1UL'

23 May 2017 | 7:58 am | Holly O'Neill

DANNY L HARLE releases characteristically huge track '1UL', an emotional banger influenced as much by top 40 pop sounds as grisly underground beats.

DANNY L HARLE, of reclusive and boundary pushing label PC Music, has just released a characteristically huge EP titled, 1UL. Released as part of the label's Month of Mayhem, seeing a new musical or artistic release from a member of the PC gang every day this month, his EP explores the weird side of pop music that draws as much influence from top 40 sounds as grisly underground beats. The title track in particular is his most succinct exploration of what he's about, teaming up with some up and coming pop names to bring an emotional banger to life.

After previously collaborating with Carly Rae Jepsen and Caroline Polachek (of Chairlift), the world of dance pop isn't foreign to Harle. The formula is clear in this track: classic verse-chorus-breakdown-repeat structure is employed featuring catchy, easy to follow beats and melodies under an evocative female vocal, all with special touches only Danny L Harle can deliver, showing off his ear for juxtaposing high and low melodies and love of grand driving basslines and complex chords. With the help of songwriters Phoebe Ryan and Nate Campany, on not just '1UL' but across the whole EP, Harle's unique pop vision is strengthened by emotive but simplistic lyrics, like all good pop music.

The track builds right from the start, with layers of bass and contrasting harmonies under the vocals creating a grand scope of a soundscape. A rubbery bassline is introduced and melodies evoking that era of early noughties dance music (see ATC - Around the World) come in at the chorus gearing us up for the dance breaks. The vocals are soloed just before every drop helping emphasise the hugeness of it all, the cathartic thumping bass and contrasting twinkly melodies. In classic pop fashion there's an emotional moment of peace before the grand finale, an angelic chorus sample is used to kind of play up this trope and make a great contrast to the giant end of a giant track.

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Of this new release Harle has said, “I am interested in making sad music that people can dance to." With this track, he's done just that, perfectly balancing the joy of the production with the melancholy of the lyrics. Danny L Harle has brought a deeper level of compositional complexity to pop music, a genre many people are far too snobby about, calling it boring and unimaginative. This track shows pop is anything but. Hopefully he'll prove even more people wrong and grow his influence until the name Danny L Harle leads the Top 40 Charts.