Making his debut with the Mercury Prize-nominated Here Be Monsters in 2001, Ed Harcourt has released music under his own name that blends raw emotions, impeccable songwriting and visionary flights of imagination. A succession of 10 rich, enthralling albums have followed that first spark of his, including the intoxicating and addictive Strangers in 2004; 2013's breathless Back Into the Woods, which was recorded in just eight hours; and Furnaces which compellingly and entreatingly envisioned family ties confronted by the small matter of the apocalypse. After that LP in 2016, Harcourt then moved to explore the instrumental sphere with recent soundscape albums Beyond the End and Monochrome to Colour.
While recognisably bearing all the hallmarks that have made him such an admired and prolific songwriter, one of Britain's most cherished yet inventive music creators, Ed's new record, El Magnifico, also finds him striving for something new. It is an Ed Harcourt record, but one with a desire to seek fresh reward.
With his body of work to date, it would be foolhardy for Harcourt not to lean on his artistic foundations, not just as a solo artist, but as an acclaimed music-maker in a variety of guises. His creativity has stretched beyond his own impressive catalogue too. Consistently inspired by the power of collaboration, as a writer, producer and, often, one-man backing band, he has aided the musical visions of the likes of Afghan Whigs, Lissie, Jamie Cullum, The Libertines and Marianne Faithfull, plus has worked with an array of fast-rising new talents. He has also engaged closely with filmmakers, scoring movies and documentaries and is a member of the gloriously louche, sonically hard bitten rock trio Loup Garoux.
With that array of creativity fizzing behind him, Harcourt enjoys a spectrum-spanning number of outlets of expression, ensuring his bountiful creativity and cascading of ideas always find an appropriately unique home. And El Magnifico is the beneficiary of this immense scope and musical insight.
2. Into the Loving Arms of Your Enemy
3. Broken Keys
4. Strange Beauty
5. The Violence of the Rose
6. Ghost Ship
8. Anvils & Hammers
9. My Heart Can't Keep Up With My Mind
10. At the Dead End of the World
12. El Magnifico