Keith Harman, the bandleader of beloved Midwestern garage punks the Cowboys, has unveiled his new solo venture Good Looking Son. The unconventional singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist dips his toes in a kaleidoscope jumble of pure power pop and addictive garage soul with earworm after earworm on the project's debut EP Fantasy Weekend.
Keith Harman has spent a good chunk of his time fronting Bloomington's beloved garage punk outfit the Cowboys. Through the band's rugged oddball nuggets and psych-pop sensibilities as of late, the Cowboys have become difficult to define. Now that the band is on a break, that ethos has carried over to Harman's new solo venture Good Looking Son.
"I was distraught by the inactivity of the Cowboys throughout the pandemic and I was waiting too long for too many stars to align, thus I asked Jerri Queen of Vacation if he would want to record me as I had a stack of songs piled up," Harman said via email. "Some songs were of a band set up, others were just Jerri and I tracking one by one. Jerri has acquired an impressive studio throughout the last couple of years in his basement, which made it incredibly easy and fun. My vision was the same as the Cowboys; writing and executing pop adjacent songs."
Today, Harman has released that new six-track debut EP, Fantasy Weekend through the ever-reliable Feel It Records. The new EP is a stream of uncompromising humor and vulnerability through a melting pot of catchy pop melodies, an endless supply of hooks, and a swinging '60s-inspired production style.
Similar to the Cowboys' last EP, Lovers in Marble, the rollicking opening track "Cocaine Spy Track" slips right into your soul with Harman's far-reaching croon and delightfully ramshackle groove that drives with energy. The sentimental "Reagan's Fantasy Weekend" is a dreamy heartland ballad that's bolstered with beautiful softness, while "Mr. Wonderful" sounds like a guitar-driven beat classic with its breezy vocals sounding cool and collective as ever over a galloping tempo. The entrancing "Psychic Jacuzzi" is amplified by Harman's eccentricity and channels a lost slice of '60s psych-pop. The early cut "The Neighbor Girl" is charmingly cinematic and delicate with ripples of hypnotic piano chords and introspective lyrics — alongside the Cowboys-penned "Songs for the Girls" and "Now With Feeling," it's one of the best songs Harman has ever written. The stomping closer "She's so Nice" is a catchy-as-hell rocker that's built around dazzling keyboards, buoyant harmonies, and a soulful bassline that serves as a melodic powerhouse pulse.
Across the debut EP, Harman is at his best. With the same philosophy he embodies with the Cowboys, he knows when its time to switch up to a more naturalistic approach when it fits the mood for his playfully warped world.
Fantasy Weekend is out now through Feel It Records.