Six weeks after the world shut down in March 2020, Becca Harvey, known by her moniker girlpuppy, released her debut single ‘For You’ out of thin air, never having made music before. A few well-received singles and the ardent, starry-eyed ‘Swan’ EP, produced by Marshall Vore (Phoebe Bridgers), ensued, and suddenly Harvey was a bonafide star. Harvey’s ethereal, wistful, folk-meets-dream pop ballads effortlessly captured the hearts of pensive, lovestruck sad girls everywhere. She’s floated swiftly to the forefront of the indie pop vanguard, but she isn’t a one-trick pony. Or puppy.
Harvey’s debut record, ‘When I’m Alone’, is an idyllic picnic set within a sonic landscape of verdant, pastoral ease and piney, mountain folklore. It’s an intimate, meditative glimpse into her diary, blanketed in saccharine candy coating and wrapped up with a delicate satin bow. The 12-track album is interwoven with golden threads of fantasy, too, with allusions to film and an overarching Twilight: New Moon influence that likens Harvey to protagonist Bella Swan. The album is a voyage of emotional expression, with tender moments of acceptance, heart-wrenching ghosts of love’s past, and euphoric, frolicking-among-the-wildflowers surrenders.
Opening track, ‘Final Girl’ is the enchanted ripple of a Monetian pond; an angelic, hallowed prelude to this utopian phantasmagoria. Twinkling keys and rollicking drums soften recounts of infatuation on ‘Swallow’, where Harvey ponders her emotional sovereignty, “Worried about my old existence / Swallowed up by you”. Just like Bella Swan in Twilight: New Moon, Harvey is grappling with her new-found and unforeseen solitude, grasping for understanding when nothing makes sense.
‘Somewhere’ is celestial and tragic, with cinematic orchestral arrangements and vocals that gleam like the fluttering blaze of a votive candle. Finger-picked guitar and warbling strings on ‘Revenant’ evoke the woodland tranquility of the Tennessee cabin where the album was recorded. ‘Permanent State’ is the album’s final curtain, the lush, heartwarming, scene that fades to black and leaves you in awe, bathing in its majesty.
‘When I’m Alone’ is a no-skips soundtrack for reflecting-pool contemplation and medicinal romanticism. It’s an ode to feeling, a sonnet for the flower that grows from the ravaged grounds of emotional warfare. Though Harvey’s internal strife doesn’t fully resolve on this record, she becomes her own hero character, searching internally for healing.
This is just the beginning for Harvey, and though she proclaims this album to be her “Bella era”, no heartbreak, or vampire, can get in her way.
Words: Bella Savignano