Harris Thurmond is no stranger to the Austin music scene. Thirty years ago he was performing on Sixth Street with his band Hammerbox and after moving to Austin fifteen years ago he played with Austin Indie rock band New Roman Times for a few years. Recently, Thurmond has found a new band with Intercom Heights made up of himself, bassist Josie Fluri, and keyboardist Meg Bernhard. Intercom Heights smartly combines the sounds of new wave, indie rock, and synth pop on their debut album, Night Measures.
Though not a singer with a natural range, Thurmond makes use of his low range by an almost spoken word type of singing similar to Matt Berninger of The National or John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. He also smartly intertwines his vocals with harmonies sung by Fluri and Bernhard. The first standout track on Night Measures is “Sleepwalking,” which makes great use of synth swells that are nicely accented by guitar effects while the bass plods steadily along with the electronic drum beats. “Fascinated” is also a great track that has a steady, slow electronic beat that would be right at home on an LCD Soundsystem album. The track “Do The Dance” is one of the slowest songs on the album but one of the most fascinating with its dark minor chords and distorted guitars creating a nice background for the 80s new wave sound that jumps out at the listener. The album closes with a two-and-a-half minute instrumental called “Tides” that really ties up the whole album with a feel of coda at the end of a classical piece.
Though Thurmond’s vocals may rub some people the wrong way, not giving Night Measures a listen would be doing yourself a disservice. The harmonies from Fluri and Bernhard create a nice vocal balance throughout. Not to mention the blend of synths, guitars, bass and electronic drums come together to create a timeless sound that combines the new wave of forty years ago with the electro indie rock of today.