Release Date: Jun 3, 2008
Record label: Dovecote
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Singer-Songwriter
Ed Harcourt's accomplished fifth album Beautiful Lie is easily one of his most accessible and listenable efforts. Yes, the hallmarks of his tortured singer/songwriter status are still in place, as flagrant strings, grandiose arrangements, and rampant-but-quality peer-mimicry rule these 14 tracks. But even though his lyrics are sometimes overbearingly dark and too many vampire metaphors abound, the music and songwriting compare favorably to contemporary indie-centric, raspy-voiced artists like Beck, the Eels, Sparklehorse, and Tom Waits.
Proving that even prodigies have to grow up, Ed Harcourt has got married and given up trying to be the next Tom Waits. Instead, he's settled on becoming the new Ray Davies, slotting a ragbag collection of characters into his innately personal songs. There's the suicidal girl and soon-to-die soldier puffing away gravely in The Last Cigarette. The village idiot running amok to an anxious melody, a hurricane survivor contemplating his romantic future as another storm brews around him.