Ant These Long Dark Country Roads

While hidden at the back of much beloved British indie act Hefner, Antony Harding's songwriting abilities were almost invisible. However, since they went on indefinite hiatus, he's been doing just fine, recording as Ant and delivering some wonderfully understated, plaintive acoustic songs that have almost nothing in common with his previous band. These Long Dark Country Roads, his latest EP, is pretty much more of the same, although with contributions from members of Hefner (Darren Hayman and Jack Hayter) and Cornershop (Tjinder Singh and James Milne) a livelier affair might have been expected. Instead, Harding doesn't break any new ground and sticks to what he knows. He almost gets away with it over just six songs but the one-dimensional approach makes those songs blend together. It is pleasant enough but there's nothing that stands out in retrospect. (Acuarela)