Ed Harcourt
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Here Be Monsters (2001), 7/10
From Every Sphere (2003), 6.5/10
Strangers (2004), 5/10
The Beautiful Lie (2006), 5/10
Lustre (2010), 5/10

Ed Harcourt, a classically-trained pianist, debuted with a home-made six-song EP, Maplewood (Heavenly, 2000), that barely scratched the surface of his repertory. The album Here Be Monsters (Heavenly, 2001) introduced a singular talent, whose singing and arranging evoked Sparklehorse imitating Tom Waits' voice and fronting Mercury Rev (Birds Fly Backwards, Wind Through The Trees, and especially She Fell into My Arms), but also capable of stretching out his fairy-tale imagination in the lengthy Beneath The Heart Of Darkness.

A more sober Harcourt crafted the more calculated songs of From Every Sphere (Heavenly, 2003): the baroque pastoral of Bleed A River Deep, the brass fanfare of The Birds Will Sing For Us, the gentle madrigal of Metaphorically Yours, the catchy lullaby of All Of Your Days Will Be Blessed, Sister Renee, Fireflies Take Flight, Watching The Sun Come Up, etc. While not as original or profound as the debut, Harcourt's vastly more ornate second album confirmed the young songwriter among the most promising of his generation. The eerie soundscape of Ghostwriter and The Undertaker Strut prove increased mastery of the studio.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Paolo Latini)

Ed Harcourt, un pianista di matrice classica, debutta con i sei pezzi dell'EP casalingo Maplewood (Heavenly, 2000), che a malapena tocca la superficie del suo repertorio. L'album Here Be Monsters (Heavenly, 2001) introduce un talento unico, il cui modo di cantare e di arrangiare ricorda gli Sparklehorse che imitano Tom Waits che canta per i Mercury Rev (Birds Fly Backwards, Wind Through The Trees) ma che è anche capace di tirar fuori la sua immaginazione favolistica nella lunga Beneath The Heart Of Darkness

Un Harcourt più sobrio emerge dalle canzoni più calcolate di From Every Sphere (Heavenly, 2003): il barocchismo pastorale di Bleed A River Deep, la fanfara di ottoni di The Bird Will Sings for Us, il madrigale ingentilito di Metaphorically Yours, la ninnananna orecchiabile di All Of Your Days Will Be Blesses, All Of Your Days Will Be Blessed, Sister Renee, Ghostwriter, Watching The Sun Come Up, etc. Sebbene non tocchi l'originalità e la profondità del debutto, il secondo album di Harcourt lo conferma tra i cantautori più promettenti della sua generazione.

Strangers (Heavenly, 2004 - Astralwerks, 2005) is a disappointment. While the general tone is mildly more upbeat, only about two or three tunes are worthy of his canon (The Storm Is Coming, This One's For You, Something To Live For).

It takes even more patience to go through the collection of The Beautiful Lie (Heavenly, 2006). One or two of the songs (notably Whirlwind In D Minor) is cute and effective, but most are pure filler. If one adds all his albums together, Harcourt still hasn't composed enough sonds to fill an album. Why release four of them?

Lustre (Piano Wolf, 2010) fails to dispel the fundamental ambiguity of the man, who can be alternatively romantic (Haywired) and playful (Do as I Say Not as I Do), swing from the pensive Lachrymosity to the aggressive Lustre, and pen the eccentric Heart of a Wolf as well as the delirious Church of No Religion; with little or no interest in stylistic innovation.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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