Critic's Choice

Ed Harcourt

Will Britain's Ed Harcourt, Saturday, May 11 at Tulagi, make you sell all your Jeff paraphernalia on eBay? Nope. But Here Be Monsters, Harcourt's much-buzzed-about debut, delivers groovy, gauzy ballads for you lovesick dreamers. The tunes are notable for their piano-driven soft-rock arrangements dressed up with horns, woozy backup vocals and various forms of overpriced studio esoterica. As a whole, the album's trapped halfway between funeral and carnival, alternating dorky pop snoozers with slow, weepy piano ballads. All in all, precisely what you'd expect from a dude writing songs in his grandmother's basement. Sheesh. Tom Waits this ain't -- all the rough edges are meticulously sanded down, leaving Monsters with an annoying "new car" smell. But Harcourt does offer melodic trapdoors and aural subplots aplenty, and you're rootin' for ol' Ed to get it right by the time he does. For those about to mope, we salute you.
 
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