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
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
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
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!