Aldous Harding is back. Following the success of her astonishing 2019 album, Designer, the New Zealand musician quickly established herself as one of the most talented songwriters working today, supporting that rise to global notoriety with a selection of artfully composed music videos.
Now, Harding has returned with the first single from her fourth studio album, Warm Chris, which is set for release on March 25th. You’ll be pleased to hear that ‘Lawn’ has been released in tandem with visuals created by Harding and Martin Sagadin. And, yes, they are wonderfully bizarre.
Designer saw Aldous Harding bask in the space between musical ideas; ‘Lawn’ is no different. The track opens with a sharp, syncopated dash between two piano chords, which, untethered from any rhythm track, sits awkwardly, stumbling forward with bow legs. As staccato basslines and Afrobeat-infused percussion enter the mix, ‘Lawn’ relaxes into itself – unfolding with childlike simplicity.
With its minimal sonic palate – featuring little more than drums, piano, and bass – ‘Lawn’ sees Harding put her artful melodies and cryptic lyrics front and centre. The sheer dexterity of her vocals has always been more than enough to beguile listeners, the range of tones she is able to draw upon giving her performances a hypnotic edge. These tones have, in the past, allowed Harding to capture her multifaceted inner life with theatrical precision. In ‘Lawn’ we see her playing yet another character; somebody nervous, childlike, and yet strangely confrontational.
There’s no use in unravelling Hardings lyrics. That would, after all, sap them of their interpretive brilliance. Her role, ‘Lawn’ seems to suggest, is to offer an assortment of images. Our job is to find the connections between them and create our own picture. Here, give it a go: “Doors are the way you leave/ Just be the/ way you are/ Just be out and free/ Can you imagine me?/ Can you imagine me/ Just being out and free?/ Doors are the way you leave/ Open it up to me.” Any luck?
Warm Chris as recorded in Rockfield Studios and features contributions from the likes of Jason Williamson (Sleaford Mods), H. Hawkline, Seb Rochford, Gavin Fitzjohn, and John Parish, the latter of whom helped produce The Party and Designer. Her forthcoming album will be available digitally and on CD and black vinyl formats. You can pre-order your copy here. To coincide with the release of Warm Chris, Harding will be hitting the road, embarking on a spring tour of the UK and Europe, with the North American leg beginning in the summer.