Harley Alexander is a name that most probably have not heard of unless they reside in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the same music scene that saw Charlotte Day Wilson emerge as a prominent Canadian artist. Alexander has been active in the underground Halifax music scene for some time now in his own right, and Wilson was featured on Alexander’s “Runnin Thangz” from his 2015 album, Gold Shirt, which was released under his band name, Harley Alexander & the Universal Lovers.
But this is not about Gold Shirt and this is not about any other artist but Alexander and his notably raw ability for putting together songs that are in its purest form, poetry — culminating most recently with “Riverbank.”
Alexander has maintained an album-per-year pace since 2014 with the Universal Lovers band to his 2018 masterpiece, Woof, but changed his methods of releasing in 2019. This year has seen him drop Love is the Only Way Out, a seven-track album of instrumentals, i choose myself, a three-song, b-side sounding EP and three other singles in the summertime alone. When the season saw the leaves begin shedding from the trees, Alexander released three more singles, "Shine," "Ready to Be Found" and his latest, “Riverbank.”
The atmosphere that Alexander creates is a feeling of being one with the world around you despite the message sometimes being that this connection is unachievable. “Riverbank” sounds as if it is sung in an amphitheater covered in moss and borrows similar gloomy tones from artists like Hovvdy and (Sandy) Alex G. Maybe it is just a secret formula found by Alexander somewhere deep in the maritime municipality.
While most of the 2019 releases were recorded at different points over various provinces in the previous three years, the mass drop of these hidden tracks shows Alexander opening up to his following and creating a victoriously vulnerable, blank slate.