One month, she’s cutting her teeth as a busker on the streets in her home country, New Zealand; the next, she’s touring with Tiny Ruins in Australia. Gothic folk musician Aldous (Hannah) Harding is winning hearts in all directions.
The string-based ‘Hunter’ sets a standard for this record which is then manipulated and moulded into something you probably wouldn’t have expected. Traditional folk-sounding songs (‘Merriweather’) intertwine with meatier folk (‘Beast’) and then again with dark, more brooding compositions (‘Titus Groans’) for a circular album experience.
Harding has a true knack for telling personal stories in a simple and appealing way; the Angus & Julia Stone-like ‘Titus Groans’ surprisingly morphs into ‘Titus Alone’ four tracks later to satisfying effect. ‘Two Bitten Hearts’ is another gorgeous track that just rolls along. In this intimate spell, we hear every expired breath and every ghostly strum of purposefully limp guitars. Meanwhile, there is lots of deeply personal imagery in ‘No Peace At All’, a slow-starter that hooks the listener in with Harding’s delicate storytelling and entrancing vocals.
You may need to exercise some patience listening to this album – but you will be rewarded.
Aldous Hardingis out now through Spunk.