Ed Harcourt: Furnaces (Polydor/Caroline) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Ed Harcourt



Aug 23, 2016 Ed Harcourt Bookmark and Share

You know what the biggest problem with the white, male singer/songwriter these days is? They are almost wilfully boring. They will sacrifice personality on the altar of earnestness, lest someone think they might for one second enjoy their job of playing a piano/guitar and crooning for money. If they are not suffering then what they do is not art…for some reason.

Thank fuck, then, for Ed Harcourt. It’s almost a cliché to say now, but only because it’s so damn nailed on, that the no-bullshit south Londoner is something of a Tom Waits for his generation: weighty and uncompromising but without ever giving the sense that he takes any of this being a musician lark too seriously. Furnaces, despite its imposing, monolithic title, carries on in much the same vein.

We have been spoiled for great rock albums in 2016inarguable greats Bowie, Radiohead, and Suede have all put out albums that can be considered among the best in their respective oeuvresbut perhaps none have felt so representative of this fucked up year as Furnaces. “Loup Garou” and “Dionysus” stand out as, but are by no means alone in being, huge, brash, and as dark as they are chaotic. There is the great difference between Waits and Harcourt: the former is at his best when a snarling lone wolf whereas the latter is at his best when refusing to hold back as is the case here.

Back when he was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, for his debut, Here be Monsters, in 2001, Harcourt seemed destinedif not for commercial successthen for an Eels-esque career of consistent acclaim and fan devotion. For whatever reason, things didn’t quite go that way as he flew even more under the radar (sorry) than Mark Everett and co. Two years ago, though, he promised us that this seventh LP would be “an album of evil songs.” It turns out that was exactly what he needed to be at his very best. (www.edharcourt.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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