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- Back Into the Woods by Ed Harcourt
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9/10 Ben Customer review, 8th August 2013
Ed's work has been gathering dust on record shop shelves for the best part of 12 years now. Following the Mercury nominated debut 'Here Be Monsters' made a bit of a splash back in 2001, the dough eyed lyrical troubadour sort of just disappeared from mainstream conscious. Those who stuck with him and have since done a bit of research while find that Harcourt has flourished into one of Britian's most talented musical prodigies. A superb multi-instrumentalist and songwriter with an unmistakable voice, each record offers a differing experience.
Back into the Woods is album number seven and was recorded in six hours at Abbey Road in a stripped back lo-fi environment. With Ed on Piano and a little help from his wife Gita on violin, this is an intense, intimate and engrossing affair that allows Ed to fully expose his vocal talents and ever maturing lyrical style.
By going back to basics and doing rid of the overproduction present on some of his earlier records (he used to be on EMI imprint Heavenly, this is released by Sean Adams, founder of Drowned in Sound) the album feels timeless and essential. Ed muses on fatherhood and dealing with growing up but also makes room for fictional indulgence into themes of murder, attraction and loss. It's a beautiful, unpretentious triumph for a songwriter long condemned to unfair cult obscurity. If you thought he was great 12 years ago then you'll be fucking knocked back when you hear this.
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