R E V I E W
‘Lumos’ album by ‘Harry and the Potters’
Harry and the Potters have recently released their fourth full length album, ‘Lumos’!
“Who are Harry and the Potters?”, you might be asking. Harry and the Potters were the first ‘Wizard Rock’ band, formed in 2002 by two brothers from Massachusetts, USA; Joe and Paul DeGeorge. Their lo-fi indie pop group, who perform songs about the Harry Potter universe, has spawned many others, including Draco and the Malfoys, Ministry of Magic, The Moaning Myrtles, The Mudbloods, and The Whomping Willows. I am not aware of any bands in the genre originating from New Zealand, however.
I got into Harry and the Potters, along with the rest of my family, only recently. This was firstly through rewatching the first few films with the kids (5 and 7), and noticing Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker fronting the ‘The Weird Sisters’, the band that plays at the Yule Ball in the ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ movie. From a search to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me (and finding the band also featured another member of Pulp, and a couple of members of Radiohead), I also discovered the world of ‘Wizard Rock’. After posting on Facebook about my discovery, I then learned that Julian from local bands The Scones and Bitter Defeat had not only seen the band play in Canada, playing with Draco and the Malfoys, but also owned the bands second album, ‘Voldermort Can’t Stop the Rock’. This CD has been living in our car stereo, on repeat, providing the soundtrack to every journey taken with the kids on board (as well as many without) ever since.
‘Lumos’ represents Harry and the Potters first new album in 13 years. Like their previous albums, the lyrics are written in the first-person, from the point-of-view of Harry Potter himself. Songs on this album cover material almost exclusively from the final book in the series, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, while previous releases covered the preceding books. Overall, the songs on this album are more ‘hi-fi’ than the previous efforts, the brothers having clearly become more proficient on their instruments, and the tracks are overall varied in style. There appears to be something for everyone on here, as members of our family all have their own favourites. [continued below]
The album starts strongly, with the title track Lumos, which sets the scene for the final book in the increasing serious and sombre series; “But then we grew up, and the world grew dark”. This is juxtaposed immediately, however, with second track, You’re not the Wizard, which is musically upbeat, despite it being about Harry’s struggle to reconcile the Dumbledore he knew and admired with what he learns of the wizard's darker past.
An early highlight includes The Trace, a song both musically and lyrically brilliant, about a charm — in the earlier books used to detect magic cast by wizards and witches under the age of 17 — which is repurposed by the Death Eaters in the final book to find people using Voldemort’s name; “Cause you got the Trace, the taboo, they’re always watching you… it’s a police state meant to subjugate”. Another favourite for me currently is Gone Campin’, about Harry’s wish that there was a spell to acquire food, like fish; “Accio salmon, accio tuna, accio pollock, accio grouper….”, and so it continues. What Happened to the Cat? reminds me of Grandaddy, which is interesting given that band had an album titled ‘Just Like the Fambly Cat’, where a similar question is asked; "What Happened to the Family Cat?". Coincidence? Miss 5 loves The Sword, The Cup, & the Dragon, The Trace, and Where’s Ron (due in part to her feministic love of all things Hermione), while Miss 7’s favourite is Hermione’s Army (though, “I like all of them”). My wife, on the other hand, likes the lyrics of the more ‘political’ songs (even if the politics do relate to an entirely fictional wizarding universe), like those in On the Importance of Media Literacy Under Authoritarian Rule and The Trace (“In times of peace, it seems like overreach, and opens the door to misuse in times of war”), and the feminist reflection of Gone Campin’ (“Don’t need a woman to be cooking my meals for me; those gendered roles are antiquated it’s not fair to Hermione”). Overall, this album seems to have something for everyone… provided you are a lover of Harry Potter, of course.
‘Lumos’ contains 16 tracks, and is available as a double LP, a single CD, or can be found on Bandcamp, Spotify, and probably elsewhere. Given this album covers the last of the book series proper, will we eventually get an album covering ‘The Cursed Child? Can we please?