Ed Harcourt has produced a new album entitled Strangers, and I want to make love to it. I don’t mean I want it playing as I try to work my black magic on some unfortunate member of the opposite sex, I want to make love to the actual album. Perhaps I am being a little overzealous, but it is a fantastic album.
Mr. Harcourt has managed to take raw emotion and make pop songs out of it. Having previously released Maplewood, Here Be Monsters and From Every Sphere, Ed describes this fourth venture as his most honest and exposed album. This is apparent in songs like “This One’s for You,” and “Let Love Not Weigh Me Down,” which seem to lay bare a raw nerve. In the latter song, Ed combines a plaintive violin with piano and his alternating soft and howling voice to create a very powerful track.
After ratcheting up the emotion, he will bring down the tempo to give the listener a rest. The song “Trapdoor” slows things down with a style very much in the vein of Nick Drake. This is helped along by the fact that his voice has the qualities of Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, and Morrissey.
This singer-songwriter also displays his abilities to write a catchy pop tune with tracks like “Born in the 70’s,” which I assume is his version of the Police’s “Born in the 50’s.” Perhaps it’s a result of my own desperately lonely situation, but “Loneliness” is a particular favorite of mine. Despite the title, the song manages to be upbeat and fun. The quick tempo and catchy choruses should make this a successful single.
Several of the songs, such as “Black Dress,” tackle all of the emotions involved with love. Ed’s deft songwriting ability allows this to sound honest and familiar. The man is bursting with talent. He can sing, write, play multiple instruments, and create an exceptional album.
Ian is co-partner of the fine Denver vintage clothing spot Rare Bird, which he runs with his brother Tristram. The two can be seen rummaging through thrift stores around and bellying up to the bar at Lipgloss.