Ed Harcourt's 2010 album Lustre is a sweepingly romantic, epic, and sparkling collection of tunes that finds the British singer/songwriter ruminating on true love, money issues, and parenthood in a way that only a man who has found his place in the world can. Always a brooding type, Harcourt certainly clocks some serious vampire time here -- there's even a song titled "Killed by the Morning Sun" -- but there is a bright-eyed optimism to these songs that lifts them from the shadows. From the title track on, it is clear that Harcourt is less concerned about his own sad-sack misery and more about the redemptive qualities in his lover's eyes.
Ed Harcourt has always felt deeply; when he sings about being in love, you really believe he is in love. The Beautiful Lie had quite a few moments that were serious-serious. The Russian Roulette EP was fifty-fifty serious-serious. Sometimes feeling that deeply is a bit overwhelming for the listener ….
You could get the wrong idea from the cover of Lustre, which depicts Harcourt, his wife and their young daughter huddled against an apocalyptic sky. The Sussex brooder's first studio album in four years is reflective and occasionally darkish, but he's apparently too entranced by fatherhood to be properly morose nowadays. These full-figured songs have ambitiously big arrangements that reference Phil Spector, and, on a love song to his daughter called Fears of a Father, a sliver of Roy Orbison's stately melancholy.
Lustre will light up your life. So goes the closing quote on the press release placard for Ed Harcourt’s fifth album. Usually these kinds of statements are a bit of hype designed to play on potential consumers’ sensibilities, but this time the promotional shoe fits. Following the success of his previous record, The Beautiful Lie, it’s clear from start to finish that Harcourt has honed his piano-propelled songwriting even further on Lustre, to present his audience with a wide array of stylistic flourishes.
British singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt's latest release was 2007's Until Tomorrow Then (The Best of Ed Harcourt), and it was a little hard to believe he'd have such a comp given his modestly successful decade run. Following the best-of, Harcourt moved to the small New York label Dovecote in 2008 to re-release 2006's Beautiful Lie for his U.S. audience, and now he's back with a new studio album.
Harcourt proves he’s a singer of uncommon charm on this fifth album. James Skinner 2010 On Ed Harcourt’s MySpace page he states that he’s “been kicking around for a while now,” and he’s not exaggerating: it is nearly 10 years since he arrived as a solo artist with the Maplewood EP, which he followed up with impressive debut album Here Be Monsters. Having parted company with Heavenly/EMI, fifth album Lustre is released via his own Piano Wolf imprint, and encapsulates a lot of what Harcourt is about, for better or worse.