The Early Years | review

Before Harem Scarem signed to WEA Canada they recorded an 11 track demo CD that was sent to various labels. I think maybe 50 were printed and in recent times a couple found their way to E-Bay, where they sold for over $500 US.
Subsequently a copy was offered for sale on a shop website for $995. This was brought to my attention by a group of fellow traders/fans. I talked to Harry Hess about this, which quickly developed into a plan to finally release it officially, as Harry suggested that no fan should have to fork out that kind of money for the songs.
The Early Years is that collection of songs, plus a few extra unreleased tracks from the same era and the added bonus of the Weight Of The World Japanese bonus track - End Of Time.
If you haven't heard that track yet, this compilation would be worth the price for that track alone. End Of Time is a classic mid-tempo Harem Scarem feel good rock ballad. Classy stuff.
As for the album's other 15 tracks, it's very much in the vein of the band's debut album, with a slightly harder rock edge, due to the fact that they are demo's and haven't been polished up too much.
If you own Harem Scarem or Mood Swings, the songs on this CD will have a very familiar feel to them, with tracks like You're The One, One Of The Wounded, Last Time, When The Morning Comes and the awesome ballad I Can Hear Them Now causing fans to have multiple palpitations.

The sound quality is the only negative here - yes they are demo's and unreleased tracks, so there are compensations made. But the sound is a little varied in places and a little muddy, sp don't expect the clarity of Mood Swings or Weight Of The World.
Additionally, now it's 2003, there is a somewhat dated feel about the songs.
A couple of notable inclusions to mention. The original demo of Honestly and All Over Again are included, as is the demo for Stayin' Away, a song that would not resurface until the Believe album.
The Bottom Line
I've appreciated every aspect and every album of Harem's career, so I can appreciate this without question. But fans of the band's more recent or modern approach will find the dated aspect a little harder to live with.
Those that haven't got over the fact the band never repeated the style of their early work will find solace in this collection, as it's 1990 "All Over Again".

Review by Andrew McNeice
Originally posted at