Album Review by EDF
Ed Harcourt returns in style and proves with his second album that he is no flash in the pan. Drawing comparisons to the likes of say Badly Drawn Boy would be no bad thing so if that’s your sort of music, then you are in for a treat.
BITTERSWEET HEART starts the album off on a happy note. Lazing on the lawn one sunny day, Ed wanted to write a song that would make him feel better and he has done so using an obvious pun. ALL OF YOUR DAYS WILL BE BLESSED is the first single taken from the album and features his harmonium. Being in love makes Ed feel that “all of your thoughts will be crowned, you’ll be the toast of the town”. The paranoid GHOSTWRITER is best described as Prince meets Beefheart where you “organise random chaos”. THE BIRDS WILL SING FOR YOU is about death but is not the main message here. The fact that there will be things to make us happy makes this more of a reflective song.
SISTER RENEE is a lullaby about death where a dying patient falls in love with his nurse. A dark piano led bass line summons up the UNDERTAKER STRUT who comes for the souls of children. This would be a great companion piece to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ RED RIGHT HAND. BLEED A RIVER DEEP is another song about death but this one is about Ed’s late grandmother who he The bare use of instrumentation here brings out the sadness of the song. “Jetsetter feels “walks through walls”.” is Ed’s lifestyle as a performer getting in the way of a normal life with his girlfriend.
WATCHING THE SUN COME UP is a lively track about not caring what people think of you and partying so hard the sight of the rising sun the following morning prompts him to “attack the day with the will to burn”. FIREFLIES TAKE FLIGHT is every child’s nightmare to what might be lurking under the bed. The tongue in cheek METAPHORICALLY YOURS is also touchingly funny, “we are joined at the hip like Siamese twins”. The final song being the title track remembers people from our past who are no longer with us and Ed wondering if the stars in the night sky are their souls.
Even though there are a few songs here featuring death, it would come as no surprise that Ed moved into his grandmother’s house after her death and wrote most of the album there. While people will note that some of the subject matter is a bit morbid, SISTER RENEE and FROM EVERY SPHERE are two of Ed’s oldest tracks featured on this album. Ed’s musical approach here at times is minimalist and that stands him out away from everyone else who feels that they have to crank their music up load to be heard. Here, less is more and this should not disappoint Ed’s fans.