Release Date: Jan 6, 2014
Record label: Ccclx Music
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Sussex singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt has been releasing records for 13 years without ever making that crucial major breakthrough, but this six track mini-album should raise his profile. A step towards a planned whole album of "evil songs", Time of Dust is bleaker than his past work, marrying a dark heart with epic hooks and choruses like a darker Elbow. Ghostly opener Come Into My Dreamland appears to ponder suicide, while the title track is a litany of modern ills over a hypnotic military drumbeat, and the title of The Saddest Orchestra (It Only Plays for You) sums up its mood and epic grandeur.
Since being nominated for the Mercury Award back in 2001, Ed Harcourt has been maturing in the shadows. He’s gradually turned into a stylish modernist cross between Anna Calvi, Nick Cave, Florence Welch and James Blake, it’s only his are-Starsailor-still-cool? warble that jars on this six-track stopgap between albums, and even that has a little Dr John croak to it these days. The rest is brooding, theatrical elegance with a glitchy twist, the urgent ‘We All Went Down With The Ship’ providing some goth-Prodigy relief with its rampant beats, haunted submarine atmospherics and a chorus that could’ve kept the Titanic buoyant.
Last year’s Back Into The Woods was one of 2013’s more pleasant surprises, a gloriously warm collection of songs from one of the country’s most under-rated songwriters, recorded in just six hours at Abbey Road Studios. It was Ed Harcourt‘s first album in three years, and he’s obviously going through a bit of a purple patch. Time Of Dust arrives just 11 months after Back Into The Woods, and is, in effect, a mini-album or EP.