Bob Boilen | July 28, 2017 — Intensity in songs often expresses itself as volume – a loud guitar, a scream, a piercing synth line. But in the case of Aldous Harding it’s in the spaces, the pauses, and her unique delivery. Watch her Tiny Desk Concert and you can see this in her facial expressions and body posture.
The first song she performs,”Imagining My Man,” is about what she calls the “tender and frightening thoughts that come with being in love,” and what you witness while watching her are often painful, pensive expressions that are as important to the song as the notes being played.
Aldous Harding is a singer from New Zealand who’s inspired by British folk singer Vashti Bunyan, but making something truly unique and her own. Party, her second album, is full of deeply personal songs with memorable melodies and spare instrumentation that linger in my head long after the headphone batteries have drained. It’ll certainly be a favorite on my year-end list.
Aldous Harding’s musical partner for the Tiny Desk is Jared Samuel, a keyboardist who was so impressive at SXSW this year in the band, Invisible Familiars. It’s his deft accompaniment on these songs that shapes the texture and pulse of them, adding tension to already taut tunes. Aldous Harding’s music isn’t universal, but if you lean toward loving the poetic, the melodic and the mysterious, you’ll likely love it.
Party is available now.
“Imagining My Man”
Aldous Harding (guitar, vocals); Jared Elioseff (keyboard, vocals)
Producers: Bob Boilen, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Tsering Bista; Video Editor: Bronson Arcuri; PA: Jenna Li; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR.
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