A rock group out of Silver Spring, Maryland, HarvestBloom is following up last year's self-titled EP with their six-song endeavor, Devil's Poison. The EP's style is mainly based on '80s-style female-fronted rock groups like Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, etc., without much variation from the sound. Even lead singer Anji's vocals seem to come straight out of that decade. Her voice shines occasionally, but is one of the band's main weak points, especially when the music does take on a different approach, like "Unmistakable Grace," which brings to mind late '90s sounds like Third Eye Blind. With her genre-specific voice, it just doesn't work so well. What really stands out as the weakest part of Devil's Poison, however, are the lyrics. Take a look at "Natural Compulsion," in which Anji starts the song with "Drowning in my sorrows, come and rescue me, in my midnight hour, come and set me free, shouting from the rooftops, crying in my sleep, for a better feeling, praying on my knees." First, some of those lines together don't make sense. Second, it appears as though it took little to no effort to write those lyrics, not only because they're very cliche Christian rock phrases I've heard a thousand times elsewhere, but also because it almost seems as if she used them simply because they rhyme. On a positive note, the music of "Natural Compulsion" rocks pretty well. The band is talented, for sure. They do better with the rock songs than the acoustic-rooted songs like "Blood (The Creed)," though they can still hold songs together well enough to get by. HarvestBloom has a lot of heart, a good message and some pretty good musicians, but they still have a ways to go; musically, yes, but mostly vocally and lyrically.
- Review date: 6/6/10, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com