Catching Harding’s single Horizon on the ‘What’s in My Bag? episode with Waxahatchee (Katie Crutchfield, who picked this album) & Allison Crutchfield. As Amoeba do play either an audio clip or some of the video, the latter in this case, Harding is in an all black robe with a part that covers her neck, staring down the lens calling my mouse to go find this video. Once I did the sounds matched the enticing snippet. The piano that is allowed to bellow out and breath under the powerful vocal delivery from Harding. Leading to the especially hard hitting moment when you hear the lyric ‘Every now and then I think about the day you’ll die babe’, digs into your chest leaving its mark.
Blend is the most filled out song sonically with the padded percussion being very prominent, giving it the fastest pace on the album making it the catchiest track. Remember though catchy does not mean that it is the more memorable than the others. Also timed perfectly are the deft touches of additional vocals, a couple vibrating electronic notes and the double exhaled breaths to wrap it up give this short opener a lot of elements to like. Blend sets up the album with a strong beginning to the Party you are about to be at for the next 38 minutes and 50 seconds.
Title track Party (Live) is the only number I am not a fan of the vocals are at fault which is the last thing I would have thought I’d dislike. There is the very elongated Y in Party. Plus when she goes high in those moments it turns into a nasally, overlong note. It really does kill the song unfortunately. But it does again show another different voice she is able to produce to the already lengthy list.
The breadth in sound that is on display from one song to another, those punchier ones on Blend or the deep beautiful Imagining my Man, a song that explains the ebbs and flows of love, reality and what you imagine it to be like and their differences. A soft baritone sax really adds an extra level of nuance to this tremendous musing. I’m So Sorry croons along with the spirit of the classic Chett Baker for example. Perfume Genius also contributes vocals on Swell does the Skull another musician I found out about in 2017, he is also a very distinctive singer so his inclusion is gladly welcomed.
Party is an arresting album from one arresting artist, Aldous Harding is full of expression and her range and diverse vocals are undeniably gripping. This is a second album that is intimate and maximises simplicity, beauty and emotion. With every song pointing to a new ability or way this musician can morph her voice into is why Party is one of the most captivating records to come out of 2017.