379. Ed Harcourt – “Strangers”

I feel I’m repeating myself, but here’s another Harcourt album I’ve given too few listens in the pass (curse you Copy Control!).

If there’s such a thing as a difficult third album, this would certainly qualify.

Ed seems a little unsure of his direction musically.  The album jumps around a lot, while staying in a relatively melancholy neck of the woods.

I’d prefer to hear more of his piano-based crooning, as I find his guitar-driven tunes far less distinctive.  His voice doesn’t seem to handle the interplay with (electric) strings quite as well, and he battles with tempo on occasion.

Just as jarring is the extent to which his songwriting has faltered.  There are weak choruses (e.g. Loneliness) and pretty cliched content (Born in the ’70s – which is admittedly still pretty well-executed):

I don’t hate this album.  There are still glimpses of Harcourt’s brilliance.  He  holds a tune with the best of them, and at times the music soars, but I do get a bit scared by his Spandau Ballet-ish moments.

File under: Remember kids, beware of…

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