Ed Harcourt Here Be Monsters

Though he’s been praised by the UK press, received plenty of airplay on BBC’s Radio 1 and received a Mercury Music Prize nomination, Ed Harcourt is a relative unknown. Here Be Monsters, his debut album proper (he released a mini-album in 2000 called Maplewood), is a nod to introverted singer/songwriters like Tom Waits and Jeff Buckley. Like Waits, his presentation is a little offbeat and his odd tendency to use haunting noises and ideas brings to mind obscure cabaret and Tin Pan Alley sounds. His voice shares more in common with the angelic one of the late Buckley. Soft and swooning, he reaches high peaks one moment and low dips the next. The highlights are instantly noticeable, as both "She Fell Into My Arms” and "Apple Of My Eye” sound very similar to one another, but both equally display their own excellent qualities. Containing a playful blend of spirited piano and bouncy drum beats, each song has a chorus that will haunt you through the day. Only "Those Crimson Tears” will top those two tracks, shining the spotlight on Harcourt’s undeniable talent for penning a warm-hearted ballad. With Here Be Monsters, Ed Harcout has released a terrific debut album and he displays everything one needs to become a successful solo artist. The only thing he can improve on is finding himself a worthy audience. (EMI)