For a band consisting of only two people, Her’s certainly knew how to get things moving. Cascades of chorus, bass lines to move mountains and vocals to ground you back to earth and take you far into your dreams all the same, the talent here knew absolutely no bounds. Which is why it was heartbreakingly awful to hear that Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading along with their tour manager Trevor Engelbrektson were tragically killed in a traffic collision in America whilst travelling to one of their tour dates in March 2019. A band with so much potential and so much love, was taken far too soon, which is why I wish to pay tribute to Her’s and hopefully introduce you to a remarkably wonderful band who’s work deserves to be heard and remembered for years and years.
Her’s formed in 2015 and a year later released ‘Dorothy’ and B-Side ‘What Once Was’, which brilliantly showed off just what they could do. Psychedelic falsetto vocals juxtaposing the baritone range Fitzpatrick had, the jangly guitars taking you straight back to bands like The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees, along with the complimentary percussion loops of their drum machine, Dorothy showed not only the capability of Her’s, but also to aspiring young musicians that you don’t need some enormous 5 piece band to write and release your music, but that even limited you could record music AND perform it with only 2 people, which I’d argue has definitely influenced and helped the indie scene today.
Later Her’s released more music that sat in the balance of absolute bombastic bangers and shy intimate whispers. Characterisation was a big part of their work, namely within the lyrics and vocals, almost melodramatic at times, each song and each line felt as if they had their own personified consciousness to guide, as well as writing songs in character allowing Stephen to write about such diverse topics that writing using personal inspiration secludes you from. Take the song ‘Speed Racer’ for example, which tells the story of someone who’s looking for lust in a one night stand, another corker that just makes you feel the need to get up and groove wherever you may be upon listening.
Her’s continued to write and release music throughout the following year and thus released ‘Song’s of Her’s’, a compilation album of all the songs they had written thus far, along with a few new tracks to delight fans. Tracks such as ‘Cool with You’ conveyed lighter sounds, almost lo-fi giving off early Rex Orange County vibes, but all the while being something unique, like taking the surf rock genre and drugging it up on morphine, but also producing tracks such as the before mentioned ‘Speed Racer’, the fast paced glossy rocker that completely blows your socks off. From then on Her’s began to play shows here, there and everywhere, all while working on their debut album, and it was at their live gigs where you really got to see the talent of simplicity and how much an effect they had to their audiences, but also, you got to see just how much fun they had performing, every song had substance, and to see the shared bliss between listener to performer was profound.
In 2018 the dynamic duo geared up to release their debut album ‘Invitation to Her’s’, and once it dropped it was heavenly. Somewhere in the void between dream pop and indie rock, Her’s laid the foundations and left a significant mark on the music scene. Dropping the single ‘Harvey’ with a hilarious music video as if Scooby-Doo met Laurel and Hardy. Invitation to Her’s showed more of Her’s quirky appeal, quality music, good laughs and the theme of Her’s giving this almost episodic feel to their works.
Later the duo released the single ‘Under Wraps’ which showed off a more sombre side to the sound of Her’s. Sonically it felt as if there was something a tad more toned down from the typical Her’s theme, with so much more musical depth in the mix, but all the same just really developing that oh so heavenly sound from their previous releases. It was like Her’s had released the perfect slow dance song for a wedding, however lyrically the song took a more emotional tone, meant to comfort your loved ones who go through changed in their life, Her’s saying it’s a song to offer “reassurance and support”.
And with the actual release of ‘Invitation to Her’s’ we were able to quantify just how good the band of Her’s were, and consume the marvellous mania of their sound. The intense amounts of depth, layered instruments, drum machines blended with live drums, ambient synths and general improved production that gave off an even warmer sound to the band. Tracks like ‘Mannie’s Smile’, ‘Blue Lips’ and ‘If You Know What’s Right’ are just a few of the intense flavours Her’s had to offer this time round. It showed just how good they were at their craft and could bring a tear to your eye as the music transports you to your happy place. Her’s were packed with potential, and they were able to drop off such a phenomenal record that definitely leaves an unprecedented mark on the indie rock and bedroom pop scene. The talent between 2 guys making music and having fun is the pinnacle of modern indie music. Her’s managed to stand out in a crowd, revolutionise the scene in their own way and take things back to a more simpler approach amongst the ambush of 4 or 5 piece bands going far too in depth to try and accomplish the same sound. Her’s was a natural, passion fuelled project that just expressed its own ecstasy wherever they went, with anyone who listened to them.
So I implore you to take a deep breath, set sail on the journey that is your invitation to Her’s, and experience the bliss that is Her’s, and the mark they left on this world that spins ever more so lonely with their passing, but stronger after their influence. And to Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading, thank you for the music, and for everything.