Of the newest batch of British imports, singer/songwriter Ed Harcourt may be the easiest to overlook, if only because he doesn't wear surgical masks in concert à la Clinic, and he doesn't follo

Of the newest batch of British imports, singer/songwriter Ed Harcourt may be the easiest to overlook, if only because he doesn't wear surgical masks in concert à la Clinic, and he doesn't follow Radiohead's fashionable lead. Here Be Monsters, the singer's Capitol debut, eschews gimmicks in favor of classical pop songwriting complete with wry humor, keen melodies, and a touch of British melancholy. Fans of Jeff Buckley will gravitate toward Here Be Monsters, especially "Apple of My Eye," which sneaks in a beat-boxed rhythm track underneath the artist's confident vocals. Harcourt finds his own voice on the epic "Heart of Darkness" and "Wind Through the Trees," a tender tune that's oddly comforting despite its downcast subject matter. Helmed by Death in Vegas' Tim Holmes, the album fleshes out its arrangements with muted trumpets, vibraphones, trombones, and hand-claps, all while staying focused on Harcourt's piano.—JDF

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