Aldous Harding has always been an artist ready to disregard the constraints of any genre. In just eight quick years and three acclaimed albums, her work has flirted with jazz, folk and chamber pop, but rather than any specific music styles, it’s her wit, candour, and the ease with which she moves in and out of a multiplicity styles that really confirms her stand-out talent.
On ‘Warm Chris’, the New Zealander’s fourth album, Harding reiterates her class, with an album of unassuming yet firmly assured excellence. Working again with producer John Parish, it’s wonderful to hear an album so quietly confident, in a world where artists often have to shout to be heard.
Opener ‘Ennui’ sees her on playful form; simple piano chords hide a much more progressive development, subtle saxophones and unexpected chord progressions intertwine before vanishing. ‘Tick Tock’s stop-start fizzy double bass line builds a world reminiscent of The Velvet Underground, ‘Lawn’ is a warm summer breeze of a song, and title track ‘Warm Chris’ sees her at her most intimate, her lyrics full of beautiful ambiguities.
The variety in the instrumentation is only met by the variety in her voice; going through registers, accents and even characters, ‘Warm Chris’ is an album covering the complex and enigmatic voices of a supremely singular talent.
Words: David Weaver
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