mon 04/03/2024

Album: Aldous Harding - Warm Chris | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Aldous Harding - Warm Chris

Album: Aldous Harding - Warm Chris

A kooky, captivating style that’s hard to pin down

Aldous Harding's new album, Warm Chris

Aldous Harding is one of those artists who has you scrambling for Shazam. You might not know the Kiwi singer, but when you hear her music there’s a sudden urgent need to find a place for it in your life.

In her fourth studio album Warm Chris, there are all kinds of songs strong, delicate, eccentric and plain indecipherable. But there’s an alluring warmth to all of them, and an offbeat sense of fun that keeps you listening. Her songs are strange little worlds you get lost in without quite knowing why. She invites you for a moment, into these intricately constructed places, to poke around in, have fun, work stuff out.

Her title track "Ennui" skims stones around the concept of philosophical boredom to primary coloured building blocks of sound and easy rhythmical chords. “Tick Tock” is a conversation between two junkies, but I’m not really sure what’s going on or why. “Fever” is clear and catchy with a jazzy seventies groove that lets you feel the hot days in the city that she sings of and some great standout lines like: "I still stare at you in the dark / Looking for that thrill in the nothing." "Passion Babe" has a similarly surreal Lauren Canyon vibe, with clear, flowing vocals, memorable hooks and strong theatricality.

The album’s title track "Warm Chris" is a sweet little guitar ballad about wanting a kiss "Give me a K, give me an I…" sung in a small, high voice with tender vulnerability. It’s first release, "Lawn" seems very much to do with models dressed up as lizards – see video, below. I've no idea why this is the case, but it’s a mesmerising watch of an Edie Sedgwick lookalike covered in scales trying to work out where things are going with the blonde fella in pressed slacks. "She'll Be Comin Round the Mountain" is a surreal, stripped back piano piece about heading back home (or not heading back home) – to small town New Zealand where the singer hails from – and the simpler things in life.

There's a unique offbeat theatricality in Harding's music, reminiscent of PJ Harvey or Regina Spektor, and her voice takes on many different forms, as if they’re being channelled as opposed to constructed. It feels like a rebellious act that in order to make up an album you don’t have to stick to a narrative arc or theme. She’s expressing what needs to be expressed and the result is a pretty cool patchwork quilt of stories and songs, and I’m not all that fussed that although I’ve listened to it over and over, I still have no idea who Chris is, nor why he might be warm.

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