The third album from Aldous Harding is sparse and melancholic, but lighter and livelier than ever. 4AD has diversified quite a bit in recent years, but Harding’s minimalist folk sits neatly between the ethereal bleeps and bloops of The Cocteau Twins and the hazy riffs and strong melodies of Belly. Harding’s voice is the star here, her cryptic lyrics expressed effortlessly in breathy baritone and delicate falsetto, but the instrumentation (and percussion especially) has diversified wildly. Her strange cadence brings charm to the title track “Designer”, whispering cymbals and chirping marimba backing sunnily strummed guitar. “The Barrel” begins with light finger-picking slashed through by steady baritone sax and violin washes. “Treasure” is equally dramatic and delicate, eerily effected voice and straightforward chords. The record is produced by John Parish (Who also produced 2017’s Party), known for his collaborations with PJ Harvey and more recently Jenny Hval. This record is pressed on black vinyl and includes a printed inner sleeve with full album lyrics.
- black vinyl pressing
- includes printed inner sleeve
- digital download included
- music label: 4AD 2019
reviewed by Mug Museum 05/2019