Deerhunter, Aldous Harding, Jock Gang | Metro | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Deerhunter, Aldous Harding, Jock Gang Member Picks 18+ Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Fri., Oct. 21, 9 p.m. 2016

There are familiar signposts on the eponymous debut from Melbourne-based New Zealander Aldous Harding (nee Hanna Harding), particularly the diaphanous early-70s pysch-folk of Britain’s Vashti Bunyan. Harding’s exquisite voice shimmers with a warm, sorrowful vibrato as it floats over spare acoustic-guitar parts that, via simple strumming or occasional arpeggios, sketch out chord patterns. Her delivery draws heavily from Brit folk tradition, but also from the quirky, intuitive utterances of Joanna Newsom. Lovely, forlorn melodies move at a crawl, though on some of the more fleshed-out songs—“Hunter” being one—the music is propelled by lyric violin embellishments, rolling electric-guitar sequences, cascading harp runs, and the distant thumps of a tambourine. On the haunting “Two Bitten Hearts” Harding’s wordless cooing is effectively complemented by the gentle sob of a theremin. I’m less impressed with her lyrics, a series of oblique narratives about strained romance that conjure some distant, unnamed past—but could also very well be set in a present in which folks wear cloaks and drink mead. Still, Harding is only 26, and she made the record two years ago, working with her boyfriend and fellow singer Marlon Williams. Just released a few weeks ago in the U.S. by the venerable Flying Nun label, its beauty is such that I’m betting she’s got a high ceiling.

Peter Margasak

Price: $21

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