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5.0 out of 5 stars
Watching His Sun Come Up?, 20 Feb. 2003
Last year EMI predicted the albums that they estimated would be 2003's million-plus sellers. Ed Harcourt was among the hallowed list. If ever an album deserved to elevate it's creator to superstar status then Harcourt's second album-proper, 'From Every Sphere', is most certainly it.
Following 'Here Be Monsters' is a challenge that few would relish. The Sussex singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist's full debut mixed the kind of lovelorn melodies that drew Elliott Smith and Harry Nilsson comparisons, with a darker, gothic (without the goth) edge, reminiscent of Tom Waites in his prime. If anything, From Every Sphere has taken the darker elements of his debut and run with it.
Tracks such as 'Ghostwriter' and 'Undertaker Strut' demonstrate admirably Harcourt's ability to mix true flair with the truly sinsiter. It is an edge that propells him away from the uninspired so-called 'New Acoustic Movement' and into the league dominated by artists of a more three dimensional realm. However,nobody can wirte a love song quite like Harcourt. 'Sister Renee' is as mournful a slice of meloncholy you will hear all year and 'Fireflies Take Flight' is simply gorgeous.
The beauty of this album is the staggering variety. Yes, Harcourt excels at the downbeat, sunkissed piano-led paens to heartache, but in 'Watching Then Sun Come Up', single 'All Of Your Days Will Be Blessed' and 'The Birds Will Sing For Us', he has more than matched the verve and soaring melodies reached on 'Here Be Monster's' 'Hanging With The Wrong Crowd' and 'Apple Of My Eye'.
So will Harcourt be this year's credible artist to achieve that rarest of things: critical and commerical success? Probably not. 'From Every Sphere' may not bettered this year, but Harcourt's dalliances with the gothic and beautiful may mean it escapes notice from the MOR Robbie Williams-buying British public. But to be honest, I'm pleased. Ed Harcourt is the type of artist you're always quite chuffed is your little secret. I'm sure Ed feels that way too.