Placing their feet firmly in the shoes of Van Halen and Aerosmith, this self-titled debut has been a long time coming. Forming in 2011 and leaving an irresistible trail of bandanas behind them, Harlot had us hooked from the first keys of ‘Denial’, and they’ve already set their sights for the Download Festival stage this summer. Vocalist Danny Worsnop’s Asking Alexandria days are behind him, but his familiar bruising growls linger for a time. Not enough to outstay their welcome but just enough to make you plead for more.
Infectious and seductive, opener ‘Dancing On Nails’ proves that Harlot definitely have something worth exploring. Followed by the heart-stopping riffs of ‘Dirty Little Thing’, it’s quite possible Harlot is the most intoxicating and enticing band to blast through your speakers since Def Leppard. Lead single ‘Denial’ is as energetic and contagious as they come, demonstrating Danny’s vocal versatility through seductive tones transitioning into guttural growls in an instant. Jeff George’s fretwork is the perfect partner in crime, thrusting familiar Sebastian Bach energy behind every captivating chord.
Slippery when wet, you say? Dripping with sex appeal, ‘The One’ is sassy, assertive and downright filthy, but you wouldn’t want it any other way. There’s an incandescent soul driving Danny’s vocals throughout ‘Easier To Leave’, showcasing a raw and gravelly individuality he’s acquired in recent years. Complementing the underground grunge of ‘One More Night’, ‘Never Turn Back’ echoes an almost punk defiance, nonchalantly declaring “I don’t mind if you’re gone when the sun comes up”.
“I’ll close my eyes, I’ll follow my feet in hopes that somehow they’ll take me home someday,” Danny croons, pouring his soul into the album-stealing ballad ‘Someday’. Heartfelt and contemplative, the drastic mood change attests to Harlot’s mastery of everything that comes with becoming the new patrons of the classic rock legacy.
Harlot’s free spirit seeps through ‘Flying Too Close To The Sun’ through bassist Brian Weaver’s tricksy opening notes. In recent years, rock bands have taken themselves far too seriously, but Harlot verify that there’s a balance to be struck between radio-worthy energy and raw emotional assertions, and there’s always time to live life as if we die tomorrow. Closing on the reflective acoustic farewell with a welcome Queen-reminiscent solo, ‘I Tried’ demonstrates each member can hold their own, but together, they make a harmony worthy of Bon Jovi.
One by one, Harlot tick every box of classic rock expectations, from the cheeky ode to sexual tension to the compulsory heart-wrenching refrain. Bursting with anthemic bangers, ‘We Are Harlot’ is the definition of flawless debuts.
’We Are Harlot’ by We Are Harlot is out now on Roadrunner Records.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)