Aldous Harding – Party
Like Harding’s homeland of New Zealand, Party is sparse and mystical, and feels both calm and unsettled in tandem, a juxtaposition Harding continuously weaves throughout a turbulent but altogether wholesome album of songs which strip away any delusion of happy-ever-afters. The serenity of tracks like Imagining My Man are mirrored by the haunting, pathos ridden Party and Horizon, evoking Anthony Hegarty. Indeed it’s almost impossible to listen to Harding’s second full length and not be drawn back to I am a Bird Now.
Harding has an ability to write strong and succinct melancholia which tend to need little or no studio production to make them as compelling as they are ubiquitous. However, the album does whittle away somewhat in later tracks, the more idiosyncratic compositions all used up in a first five or six songs of abundant creativity, and the drama of the music is sometimes not recognised by more thorough production values; occasionally the album screams out for a rumble of timpani or crowing brass arrangements, anything to soak into the raw, naked flesh of Harding’s work. However there is easily enough content in Harding’s beauteous offering to find both the swelling, cruel sea and an eternal prayer for land and salvation.
3.5 / 5