Thursday, December 19, 2019

Albums of the Year # 7 Aldous Harding - Designer

From April. Released the same day as Lawn Memory:

Is it possible to fall in love with two completely different albums in the same morning? It seems so. Having fallen under the spell of Wild Firth's magnificent Lawn Memory early yesterday morning I made my way to work. Once there, while preparing, (I assure you I was working), I took the opportunity to listen to Aldous Harding's third album Designer and was slain again.

Harding is something of a divisive artist. Holding absolutely nothing back in terms of performance and visual presentation, she comes across of either quite bereft of her senses or ludicrously mannered. If the music wasn't so damned accomplished she might easily be dismissed as a preening wannabe.

But the music is serene, assured and often quite breathtaking. Basically built around Harding's own guitar figures, she weaves exquisite Gothic Folk patterns that have drawn me in utterly after just a couple of listens to Designer.

On top of that she layers found, apparently nonsensical poetic lyrics that make perfect sense in the contexts she sets them in. Stripped of the colourfully odd videos that Harding has put out in advance of the album's release the songs stand alone; seductive, warm and incredibly alluring.

Harding makes the case for extreme idiosyncratic eccentricity remarkably powerfully on Designer. It's a delight from start to finish, an indulgence, like eating a whole bowl of cherries at one sitting. I'm fortunate enough to have a ticket to see Harding play in a small venue in my hometown in a few weeks time. Frankly, I can't wait. In the meantime this record will more than tide me over. It makes the case for cryptic, elusive beauty.

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