Rob Harley ‘Big Tree’ – Debut Album Review

Rob Harley has an interesting background. From moving around while growing up and settling in Ireland’s County Cork, it’s not hard to see where his eclectic sound came from. Inspired by the likes of brit-pop and Jeff Buckley, to name but two, Harley has been working on this new LP ‘Big Tree’ for years now. Originally meant to come out during Covid, but time did what time does, and passed by… But like all good works of art, patience is a virtue. Now upon its release, we dissect the album.

The album starts off with title track ‘Big Tree’. Arguably one of our favourites off the album, and who doesn’t like starting with a fan favourite? We previously covered the single release in full which you can find here. A great title for the album and song to boot. Following that is ‘Crying For You’, a driving number reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac in parts. With a fantastic soundscape and catchy hooks keep you listening throughout. ‘I Can’t Wait’ brings an element of cool to the 10 track LP, in the mode of Queens of the Stone Age or even Arctic Monkey’s ‘AM’. A fantastic mix!

Entering the middle of the record, things slow down a bit in the sultry ‘Tears That Ain’t Mine’, followed by ‘Liar’, which could easily feature in an episode of Peaky Blinders (one we had to listen to twice)! Lyrically, ‘Liar’ is our favourite on the album due to its captivating narrative. Next up is the more straight-shooting ‘Straight For Your Love’, a nod to Brit-pop and another feather to his bow in Harley’s diverse range of songwriting. Continuing the theme of introducing new moods and sounds, next we hear ‘Swinging For Fences’, the most Jeff Buckley-esque in our humble opinion.

Heading into the twilight section of the album, ‘These Days’ is the perfect “beginning of the end” song, slowing us back down. Second to last ‘When It’s Done’ is a cool tune from start to finish. The vocal sound stood out immediately and an emphasis on the lyrics makes it even more introspective. One to listen out for! Finally, we get to our album closer ‘Fiadh’, which we had to look up the meaning of! According to Google it means “wildness” in Irish, which is a pretty apt summation of the album overall. A wildness of spirit and a free and pensive nature throughout. A thoroughly enjoyable listen that doesn’t miss a beat – something that feels quite refreshing this day in age.

To summarise, do not miss out on giving this fantastic album a listen, out today (25th August).