"If my last album was weighed-down, this one is a buoy", says Ed Harcourt of his new June 15 album Lustre. "It floats. It’s about that gleaming quality – the vitality, the passion – that drives you to keep going and not give up." There's much talk from and about the critically acclaimed if commercially unheralded British singer/songwriter that indicates that his first new project in four years is all about rebirth. Stepping back from what he calls his "bitter frame of mind," becoming a father and rekindling the creative spark -- all have now brought Harcourt to a new project that happily ends his self-imposed sabbatical. It also just might be the best work he's ever done.
Recorded in Seattle with Ryan Hadlock (Blonde Redhead) -- whom Harcourt calls "the most brilliant producer I've ever worked with" -- Lustre is self-described as "epic in scope" and shifts Harcourt's pension for dark and moody compositions to a more open, brighter place. And with a self-imposed strategy of writing and reworking a fewer number of songs, each has a more dedicated focus. Lustre's title track has a subdued but bristling energy at it's heart, swirling with angelic harmonies and a classic pop melody while pulsing keys and a walloping beat drive the gorgeously dazzling "Haywired": "It's not be easy to be happy and get away with it" he sings as an ELO-ish production builds behind him. Easy? No. But for Harcourt it's clearly a great place to be. Highly recommended.
Ed Harcourt - "Lustre" (from the album Lustre)
Ed Harcourt - "Church of No Religion" (from the album Lustre)
Ed Harcourt - "Church of No Religion (Acoustic)" (live on KEXP)