If it took a whole decade for anger to morph into the exquisite, love to become a roar, and evocation to magnify, then every moment awaiting Sarah Harmer’s new album, Are You Gone, has been worth it.
The Canadian songbird has not one solid foundation upon which she creates art, but several. Lyrically, she could convince a flamboyance of flamingos to fly. Her vocals might energize a sloth to the top of a tree. Personally, her life is a richness unto its own—Harmer is a grassroots organizer of environmental and political activism, which colours the music she plays with friends to unwind.
This 12-track paradigm explores themes of climate change, loss, and love. Sailing on calm seas of indie folk to waves of bluegrass and tides of soft rock, Harmer wields her intricately dynamic voice with restraint, such as on “St. Peter’s Bay” and “The Lookout,” while tracks like “New Low” and “Take Me Out” punch up the pace.
On this musical endeavour, Harmer guides us to the end with grace and a gentle kick in the gut. Are You Gone is a tender warning that we aren’t—yet—and reminds us that the pursuit of art remedies nihilism.