Harcourt, Ed : From Every Sphere

Grace and magic from the British Jeff Buckley

Ah, the mythical British summer. Wispy clouds, golden cornfields, heartbreaking sunsets – and Ed Harcourt tumbling woozily from the stereo. Recorded with Tom Waits producer Tchad Blake, the sleepy-voiced crooner’s second full-length album effortlessly invokes everything from classic late ’60s Britfolk to timeless West Coast Americana, but sidesteps lazy retro accusations with adventurous and quirky arrangements, from the slide-guitar vapour trails of ‘The Birds Will Sing For Us’ to the fairground pump organ of ‘All Of Your Days Will Be Blessed’. The fuzzy-warm surges of ‘Jetsetter’ are simply sublime, while ‘Watching The Sun Come Up’ is the croaky-voiced lullaby The Strokes may one day write. Harcourt might err too far towards gentle whimsy for rock fundamentalists, but otherwise ‘From Every Sphere’ is a rich treasure trove of sun-kissed grace and summery magic.

Stephen Dalton