KYP HARNESS plays Bar Radio Thursday (May 8). See listing. Rating: NNNN
A new Canadian was bemoaning the dearth of protest songs by local folkies yesterday, so I told him about Kyp Harness.
Harness's latest flies in the face of the love song's hegemony, its 10 unapologetically political tracks backed by the Dinner Is Ruined Band playing scrappy and loose rock 'n' roll perfectly suited to Harness's freewheeling and scathing vocals.
The first half of the disc is rocking, especially the organ-heavy vitriolic barrage of Big Deal! - about the kind of arrogant big shot we love to loathe - and super-fast Easy Money, which I really want to throw on a jukebox and get everyone dancing to.
The second half leans toward ballads, covering Canadian injustices on We Own It Now and Ipperwash - which should become a standard if there's any justice in folk. Most chilling, however, is The Black Donnellys, with its incessant descending piano figure setting the stage for the story of a famous Ontario massacre.
Top track: The Black Donnellys