Having drifted from genre to genre, from a pop-rock origin to a folk sound and finally into a prog oriented sound which is where Hartley sit now.
The ever-changing sound that Hartley has developed makes it hard to pin down something they can be compared to at any one time. With Crimson, there’s a downbeat mystery that’s coupled with powerful grunge guitar strums and a full to the drums that hit with extreme impact.
Cycling between a gentle twanging guitar, full of bluesy crooning guitar that’s full of melancholy. Before transitioning to an equally moody chorus that’s like a slap to the face, jolting the track to life. These two styles flow seamlessly together, subtly switching genres on the fly with incredible ease.
Crimson really encapsulates the ease with which Hartley can change their style without losing identity, fusing sounds of various genres together without losing out on the distinction between them.
Even the instruments and vocals seem to express this transitionary style throughout Crimson. Drums go from a gentle, minimalist tapping to heavy strikes that sound distinct and fuller than what most people may be used to. The guitars go from down strung and gentle to a roaring beast. And vocals go from a calm and saddened lounge-style into a desperate-sounding cry.
There really is a lot to commend when it comes to Crimson. Fusion of genres is the norm within music. But seeing a band evolve to something new and entirely different can be a dangerous road to follow. But Hartley so far haven’t made a step wrong.