Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Go Ask Aldous

The lucky thing about this new Aldous Harding record is that enough time has passed between the original New Zealand release of her first record and this second album Party, out this month, that half of its songs have been floating around the last year and might already be established favorites. And where the first one might've had you raining tears but also wondering why a New Zealand native sings like an Irishwoman in mourning, Party has all sorts of range and finds her toying with accents as though each song is worthy of its own character.

Her best offerings on this album are also a couple of the ones she had released earlier as intimate videos, "I'm So Sorry" and "What if the Birds Aren't Singing They're Screaming." You know, the stuff that may or may not be inspired by addiction of one sort or another.

"Freedom/balance/so many friends wish that for me"

"I got high/I thought I saw an angel/but it was just a ghost"

There's a great deal of performance in her art, and for a singer-songwriter, she does so much tip-toeing around the line between precious and brilliant, anchoring herself onto the side of brilliant just as you begin to wonder whether or not she's for real. And it's no wonder John Parish opted to work with her this time around -- she's a bit of an odd one, gives the impression that she has no female friends whatsoever, and while her music's nothing like that of PJ Harvey, she's got a similar quality, the one that has you questioning whether she's dead serious or having a long, quiet snicker about all the fun she's having by herself. Both are probably right.

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