Harker is the acoustic singer-songwriter side-project by Three Summers Strong frontman Mark Boniface. The most recent EP by the Brighton based artist sees Boniface gruffly deliver three tracks, crossing the finishing line just shy of the nine minute mark. It may not be the longest record, yet even the two minute ‘Lights Off’ succeeds in conveying the unprocessed punk-rock attitude that Harker has injected into his sound. In many ways Boniface captures a Gaslight Anthem or Chuck Ragan punk rock vibe, and off the back of the three raw tracks on offer, it would not be preposterous to see Harker squeeze a support slot for a number of punk or rock and roll bands.
It is the ambiguity of the music that will undoubtedly lead to this success. Boniface walks the fine line between punk-rock and extensive commerciality; a line that has been travelled well by those following in the Boss’ footsteps. The music may not sound like Springsteen, but the bluesy undertones that sit behind Harker’s acoustic guitar and foreboding vocals certainly borrow heavily from similar American roots.
Boniface captures the blues within his lyrics, setting himself firmly in the downhearted and morose. ‘Loyal than Most’ speaks of humanities fickle nature, concluding that “underground we may wait for nothing, but we know it’s better than taking.” Similarly, ‘Lights Off’ plunges further into depressive themes, opening with finality; “I drop the needle and pray that tomorrow is a less lonesome day.”
However, The presumed bonus track ‘Do You Still Hate Me?’ contains the majority of the pain, due in part to the more raw production levels than the previous two songs. Here Harker sings of love and relationships with an almost relenting distain.
This three track EP is a bright endorsement for the Brighton singer. It may follow in the footsteps laid by a string of artists but Boniface wealds enough character in his unique vocals to supply individuality. His raw emotion and punk-rock passion run through the veins of the music and the result is undeniably mesmerizing.