Being a singer-songwriter must be a damn hard job in 2014. There are so many of these creatures knocking about and I for one am a bit weary of the tired genre. I’d say it’s pretty hard for any guy or gal plugging their wares to leave any lasting effect on the curious but casual listener. I would say it’s particularly difficult for someone like Ed Harcourt, a guy who’s main instrument is the forever-associated-with-Coldplay piano. Inevitable associations to such aforementioned stalwarts of English rock do not help Ed’s cause one little bit. Finding the right audience who can appreciate the subtleties in the kind of music Ed makes is difficult.
I’d like to use this opportunity to make a case for Harcourt, he’s an amazing musician, fine songwriter and he’s got a sense of humour too. Ed’s been on the scene since his 2001 Mercury Music Prize nominated album ‘Here Be Monsters‘ and has steadily released good albums ever since. He’s also done a lot of collaborative songwriter and touring with some cool guys including Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan in The Gutter Twins. His albums in recent years haven’t exactly sold well so it’s good that he’s been picked up by the Drowned In Sound record label. Good news.
2014 Mini-album ‘Time of Dust‘ follows 2013’s ‘Back Into The Woods‘. ‘…Woods’ was fine, just fine, but it’s this new set of tracks that has really rekindled my excitement for Harcourt’s music. For me, a good singer-songwriter is distinguished from a bad one by the quality of bridge him or her writes. Sure, plenty of songwriters can string a nice verse and chorus together, but unless the bridge is good then I’m sorry but you’ve lost me. I’m out. Opener on Time of Dust, ‘Come Into My Dreamland‘ features a classic bridge. Woozy verse/chorus morphs into stately (sorry, can’t think of a better word) bridge. Awesome stuff.
Incidentally, there was recently a Radio 4 programme on the art of the bridge, check it out here.
The album continues with ‘In My Time Of Dust’ which also features a fine bridge – there’s loads of cool influences bouncing around these songs. Harcourt’s voice has always been something to admire and the production is rad on this record. ‘We All Went Down With The Ship‘ follows and again the bridge is great. I’ll shut up about bridges now, I hope you get my point though. The other three tracks on the album are good too, but sure, I’ve already convinced you to listen to this set of songs so find out for yourself what they’re like.
Check out the song ‘In My Time Of Dust‘ below. Enjoy!