Album Review: Ed Harcourt – Furnaces

Published On August 23, 2016 | By Daniel Patrin | Albums, Featured Post, Music

Ed Harcourt is no stranger to the music world, especially for those who are engaged with the properties of his unique and passionate output. Studio album number seven comes with an abundance of eccentricity and thoughtful value – proving to be his most breathtaking release yet. Furnaces shuffles it’s way through an array of emotion and class – shining the light on Harcourt’s unified radiance and immediate musicianship.

Ed Harcourt - FurnacesHarcourt immediately serenades the listener with the record’s Intro – offering layered vocals both stark and beautiful as expected. This tiny record opener guides the way for an impeccable listing of graphic sound textures and pure musical expressionism. The World Is On Fire exhibits his strong, space echoed vocal tribulations, winding up a singing crescendo as round and frisky drum claws expel against the quaint guitar and vocal hook uprising. The song melts together with a gentle aura, cradling a rustic distorted ambience as it concludes with metallic tones. Harcourt’s vocal range transcends beautifully over the entirety of the record, specifically inside the workings of Loup Garou – facilitating a generous helping of intensity and character under the meaningful lyrics. A short piano break and drum build ushers in his silky cries – “You can do what you want when you want to, and there’s no one to stop you now” he calmly affirms.

The record’s title track, Furnaces, wields a dose of potent energy. His dynamic vocals soothe over rustic and traditional drum slams reminiscent in Bonzo’s crashing efforts on Zeppelin’s When The Levee Breaks. This is something else, though – a triumph and unhinged musical thickness emanate inside and out of Harcourt’s effortless songcraft. An otherworldly genuine charisma unwinds beneath the precise mastering and well-produced beauty of Occupational Hazard. From the orchestral strings to the angelic and nurtured beauty of the upheld voicings. The ghostly, spiritual voodoo of Nothing But A Bad Trip shines against a ripened song structure – elevating a thick drum and piano sequence. As the authentic and traditional aspects of the record’s rustic side emerge, it also does it’s best in shaping a modernist soundscape with tracks like You Give Me More Than Love. It unleashes a deepness and electronic charge, leaning against a gradual tempo backbone of dark beauty. A dramatic and stirring change of pace is met as Dionysus folds together the internal workings of grunge-guitar moments as an atmospheric sung poetry mixture gravitates toward Harcourt’s commanding vocal narration. Furnaces feels like a film at moments, wading through different stories and an unreal musical world for its 53 minutes. Fittingly, like most wondrous cinematic experiences, the record concludes with a fiery gemstone last scene – retaining an inventive landscape of stainless melodic arrangements and sung transpositions in Antarctica Ghetto.

Particularly impressive, Furnaces reaches infinite emotional standings, caressing the ears with meticulous attention to detail and the attachment of core artistic elements. Harcourt’s vocals cry with a gentle and rich clarity but do so in a way that accentuates the enigmatic and cosmic exuberance of the instrumentation framework. The record is an accurate model of well-balanced musical fruition. It displays, more times than one, an elegant, delicate and ardent encapsulation of Harcourt’s blossomed artistic process and songwriting zeniths.

4.5 / 5 stars     

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