Album Reviews

Har Mar Superstar – The Handler

(WEA) UK release date: 6 September 2004

Har Mar Superstar - The Handler Oh Har Mar, in your little Y-fronts and pink sun visor, you have given us your own unique wow-factor and top-class musical entertainment. Just like The Darkness and their, let’s face it, panto rock, and Goldie Lookin’ Chain with their chav-style gangsta rap, Har Mar Superstar and his funk disco are a bit of joke.

He is the man with the body and face of Danny Devito, a libido like Austin Powers and a voice like Stevie Wonder. How could you possibly not laugh and join in the party? Countless supermodels and rock stars have. They all flock to his extravagant shows where he gradually strips off from whatever outlandish outfit he may be wearing down to his grubby little pants.

The Minnesota man has funk, no question about it – and when he covers Wonder’s Sir Duke on stage it is absolutely mind-blowing. But listening to his new album The Handler you realise that his songs are essentially just a backdrop to his extravagant shows. His music just isn’t meant to be listened to without some little hobbit grinding his sweaty pelvis on stage to a whooping crowd.

On its own, his music is very basic and clichéd – it’s nice and sleazy with a throbbing electro bass underlying his dirty talk, such as in opening track Transit with the hilarious line: “Take another trip on my Easyjet”. Reminiscent of tantalising cocaine nights and disco beach parties, his music has a life-style any man would be envious of.

If saccharine-toned women aren’t cooing “Har Mar is so sexy” in Transit then he’s inviting a sex kitten to “take off your sexy snowsuit” in Save The Strip, all behind sleazy-beat studded background music. In D.U.I he says in a turned-on drawl: “Looking out in the crowd I see a lot of hotties, tell me which of you will be my mommy”. It’s all very Eighties cocktails by the pool – and only a man as small and stubby as he is could possibly get away with it. Were he a sun-drenched body-builder he wouldn’t be funny, he’d be Peter Andre.

But ole Harold Martin has a sweet-side too, bringing a bit of Motown love with Sugar Pie, a sentimental cutesy song with not one sexual reference in it. Amazing. But then he goes even further with a serious ballad called O, where he sings: “These words are my son, this hotel room my wife”. Oh pass the sick bucket! Har Mar, cut the schmaltz and just stick to what you’re good at.

Luckily we have that with the next song, Back That Camel Up, where he sings: “All the panties you been throwing on stage” and a taunting rejoinder chants: “I still got ’em”. But wait, what’s going on with the final song? A track that’s supposed to round off what is essentially a party album? Unbelievably and shockingly Har Mar has covered plaintive 1972 hit Alone Again (Naturally) by Gilbert O’ Sullivan. Not only has he committed this unforgivable sin, but he’s sung it with echoey vocals and even whistles a refrain. Utterly terrible.

So, Har Mar Superstar’s third album is quite odd – it has funk, it screams ‘partay’ and of course features his superb Stevie Wonder singing, but down to the nitty-gritty the songs are thinly produced with predominantly rap-talking and dips slightly into the toe-curlingly bad. The music feels like it’s just an accompaniment to his stage act: it’s fun but basic and just not meant to be shoved out there on its own. It’s music to watch Har Mar dance to, and nothing else.

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Har Mar Superstar – The Handler