Ed Harcourt - From Every Sphere

Young, handsome and musically gifted Ed Harcourt has finally released the follow up to his Mercury Music Prize nominated debut "Here Be Monsters". The twenty five year old multi-instrumentalist has come up trumps again. Ed Harcourt is a romantic, yet a realist and a first rate commentator on the human condition. He's influenced by Tom Waits, Tim Burton, JD Salinger, Raymond Carver, Chet Baker and The Brothers Grimm yet can play side by side with Supergrass or on variety shows such as the Live Floor Show.

"Bittersweetheart" has the familiar sounding Ed Harcourt fragile, gravely, throaty voice with traces of sorrow. The piano chords are suitably mellow with the chorus a summery uplifting wall of sound. The Beach Boys and Beatles influences give it a retro edge, but with Harcourt's trademark story telling song structure. With it's Beck like funk and Prince's ambition "Ghostwriter" has a warped sinister blues feel. It's Americanized, sleazy, unsettling yet mesmerizing with dirty guitar solos. "Watching The Sun Come Up" with it's Bono-esque vocal delivers insightful, poetic and witty lyrics drenched in emotion. Quite rocky with a brass arrangement and sounds like the Waterboys without the folk influence.

The only let down on an otherwise eclectic collection of songs is the self indulgent 7 1/2 minute epic title track. The monotonous long piano intro leads us to a whimsical vocal and while experimentation in music should always be applauded, it just isn't a success on this song. Weird guitar songs aside this was a disappointing finish to a very impressive album by a naturally talented musician.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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