Harcourt, Ed - Maplewood

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Heavenly/EMI
Catalog Number: HVNLP 27 CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 21:53:00

Having 300 self-penned songs at the tender age of 23 makes it indeed difficult to make the right choice as to what to put out as a debut album. It gets even more difficult when that debut album turns out to be a 6-track mini album. The storytelling voice of Ed Harcourt accompanied by an interesting arrangement keeps you interested throughout though. The way tubular bells are introduced in "Hanging With The Wrong Crowd" doesn't mean the music has to be a copy of Mike Oldfield, as this is certainly not the case. Harcourt is a singer - songwriter pur sang, who in fact only needs his guitar and his voice to entertain us. A song like "I've Become Misguided" has the name Sixteen Horsepower written all over it, not in the least because of the joyful mandolin. Talking about Sixteen Horsepower means Morphine is never far away either. And what about Tom Waits, whose soul seems to be present in many a composition?

Taught piano by Michael Crawford's mother, there's no way Ed Harcourt will ever make it to London's West-End; but then again, a cozy little club filled with smoke such that you can hardly see each other is more the kind of place to fully appreciate his intimate music. "Apple Of My Eye" could even be U2 in a cheap recording studio, trying to evoke the "back to basics" attitude where production is concerned. Introducing a cool trumpet in "Attaboy Go Spin A Yarn" has the ghost of Tom Waits enter one more time. Even more trumpet and more tempo sees "He's Building Swamp" leave in the same direction. Absolutely "Swordfishtrombone" worthy is the closing piece called "Whistle On A Distant Train", without any doubt the absolute highlight on this acquaintance and a great tune to play "in the neighbourhood!"

Recorded on a 4-track Tascam in his very own Maplewood Studios this low-budget jazzy lo-fi muzak is probably the right move in order to get the necessary media attention. This will hopefully introduce the boy to the right producer who will mould for him the right atmosphere for his first full length album. Maybe Jon Parish wouldn't be a bad idea. After all, to me Ed Harcourt in a way is nothing short of a male PJ Harvey who mated with Tom Waits on a drizzly night after having listened to The Flaming Lips. More with less. For sure.

Hanging With The Wrong Crowd (3:32) / I've Become Misguided (4:09) / Apple Of My Eye (3:08) / Attaboy Go Spin A Yarn (4:03) / He's Building A Swamp (3:17) / Whistle Of A Distant Train (3:41)

Ed Harcourt - everything!

Maplewood (EP) (2000)
Here Be Monsters (2001)
From Every Sphere (2003)
Strangers (2004)
Elephant's Graveyard (2005) (digital download only; w/b-sides and rarities)
The Beautiful Lie (2006)
Until Tomorrow Then: The Best Of Ed Harcourt (2007)

Genre: Rock

Origin UK

Added: March 21st 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.edharcourt.com
Hits: 798
Language: english


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