From Every Sphere

Like a fairy tale, Ed Harcourt's follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut, Here Be Monsters, strikes first as whimsical musing but becomes more meaningful after repeated listening.

Like a fairy tale, Ed Harcourt's follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut, Here Be Monsters, strikes first as whimsical musing but becomes more meaningful after repeated listening. Harcourt's rambling piano melodies and sprawling vocals slowly but surely reveal their hooks. The sexy, boozy jazz of "Bittersweetheart" perfectly captures the conflicted emotions of a damaged relationship. And Harcourt's unexpectedly angry take on "Watching the Sun Come Up" is refreshing. Eclectic swings, from bouncy pop ("All Your Days Will Be Blessed") to modern electronic ("Ghostwriter"), keep the proceedings interesting. And Harcourt's velvet voice is a real treat.—SA