New Zealand born Wales-based, Aldous Harding has just released her fourth album ‘Warm Chris’ via Remote Control Records. On this recording she has reunited with producer John Parish, known for his work with PJ Harvey and others. ‘Warm Chris’ was recorded at Rockfield studios and has already garnered a lot of critical praise with Mojo awarding it their album of the month.
As with all things Aldous Harding, it’s a dazzling performance. Expect the ovations for her to echo down the years.” – MOJO’s Album of the Month ★★★★
The first track on the album is ‘Ennui’ it features keyboards repeating a plaintiff refrain and Harding’s perplexing, succinct lyrics featuring the line:
Lick my instep, I miss the funk it leaves on me
You might have no idea what this is all about but you find yourself relishing the thought of embarking on a weird journey with the uncategorisable Harding at the helm. ‘Tick Tock’ has an irresistible melodic chorus but Harding’s delivery of the lyrics for the rest of the song is deadpan, expressionless.
Next up is previously-released single ‘Fever’. It’s a plaintiff love song about reuniting with a lover. The great thing about Harding’s lyrics is that they suggest a theme and then it is up to the listener to interpret and and find their own meaning in the sparse, but at the same time incredibly evocative lyrics.
‘Warm Chris’ is a more traditional folk ballad this time Harding’s voice lilts over song which is intermittently punctuated by a jagged electric guitar riff.
On ‘Lawn’ Harding laments a broken relationship, the lyrics are delivered in a lilting, child-like voice over a backtrack that features just a piano, drums and bass. The video is interesting-featuring Harding and her male companion made up to resemble reptiles and ends with a shot of a chameleon, its beady eye surveying the viewer.
The chameleon in the ‘Lawn’ video is perhaps, emblematic of Harding, it is impossible to pin her down. She keeps on changing. Her lyrics are inscrutable and the way that she delivers her songs on this album differs from track to track. On ‘She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain’ Harding’s voice is reedy and would not sound out of place on the acclaimed ‘Anthology of American Folk Music’. On the next track, ‘Staring at the Henry Moore’ Harding seems to have moved rapidly from Appalachia to a night club in Havana. Accompanied by a jazz guitar one can picture her spotlit on a small, smoky stage while in the audience, the midget from Twin Peaks is doing his bizarre dance.
Aldous Harding’s music is impossible to classify and her videos are just as obtuse. It’s the sonic equivalent of watching a David Lynch movie, it is complex and requires contemplation but is ultimately rewarding.
It is still only March, but Harding might just have delivered the album of the year.
Aldous Harding – Warm Chris
- Tick Tock
- Warm Chris
- Passion Babe
- She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain
- Staring At The Henry Moore
- Leathery Whip
Purchase or stream ‘Warm Chris’ here.