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Ed Harcourt - Strangers


Review: Emma Whitelaw

IT ISN'T often I stumble across an artist as amiable and accessible as Ed Harcourt. His lyrics are charming, personable and downright captivating.

His is the sort of musician that you just want to pick up and cuddle, or at the very least, snuggle up and listen to the beautiful sound that is his latest offering, Strangers.

Ed Harcourt is a modern day romantic, a drunken poet if you will.

His work is extraordinarily tender and, being a Harcourt virgin myself, it was surprising how swiftly I found myself to be a victim of his charms.

Exploding into action with the musically passionate The Storm Is Coming, Ed lures you in from the word go.

And if the opener doesn’t grab your heart strings, the melodically blissful, Born In The Seventies sure will.

With a sugar sweet vibe on a par with that of The Boo Radleys’ candy floss number Wake Up Boo, Born In The Seventies is like musical Prozac – seriously, it even makes the rush-hour Tube seem fun!

Ed’s not one for putting on airs either. When he sings 'my heart is on my sleeve', in his recent single, This One's For You, you know he really means it.

Reminiscent of Badly Drawn Boy’s Pissing In The Wind, it is a romantic drinking song that was recorded live, in one take, of which Ed, the perfectionist, is justifiably proud.

The richness of the album could be attributed to the instruments used - piano, trumpet and violin - most of which were played by Harcourt himself.

It could also be to do with the setting in which it was recorded - in the heart of a forest in Sweden. Could he be any more romantic?

When asked how he lives his life, Ed says: "I drink, I laugh, I cry, I love, I write and sing songs, I pass out."

And it really is this very blatancy that is part of his magnetism and is reflected beautifully in his lyrics.

The stunningly melodic Let Love Not Weigh Me Down being no exception. With poetic lyrics and added violins, it is a truly pretty song that could melt even the iciest of hearts.

Slightly more up-beat than its preceding tracks, The Trapdoor and The Music Box, Loneliness is as open and honest as the rest.

"Loneliness, loneliness, what would I do without you… it was all you had to give me."

In his closing track, Black Dress, Ed proclaims, 'you will come back', and after dozens of listens, I don’t doubt that you will.

An unexpected world of romance and poetry awaits; don’t let this one pass you by!

Track listing:
1. The Storm Is Coming
2. Born In The 70's
3. This One's For You
4. Strangers
5. Let Love Not Weigh Me Down
6. Something To Live For
7. The Trapdoor
8. The Music Box
9. Loneliness
10. Open Book
11. Kids (Rise From The Ashes)
12. Black Dress

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