Ed Harcourt

Until Tomorrow Then: The Best of Ed Harcourt

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Having launched a solo career seven years prior to this release, Ed Harcourt isn't quite ripe enough for a greatest-hits compilation. Still, his songwriting has been consistently solid since 2001's Maplewood EP, which lends a sense of cohesion to Until Tomorrow Then's 16 tracks. There are no dips here, no lapses in good judgment, no ill-advised forays into a genre that Harcourt isn't capable of pulling off. And even if this collection does seem a bit premature, it's still an engaging listen, with Harcourt's pop-based experiments veering between '70s-styled ballads and contemporary chamber pop. Also included are two unreleased tracks, "You Put a Spell on Me" (no relation to the similarly-titled song by Screamin' Jay Hawkins) and a demo version of "Whistle of a Distant Train." The latter track was taken from the Here Be Monsters sessions, and although it can also be heard in slightly different format on Maplewood, it's nothing short of beautiful here, with a plucked double bass anchoring the elegiac mix of piano, trumpet, and wistful vocals. Harcourt may be young, but he's one of the most promising songwriters in recent memory, bridging the gap between the confessionals of Jeff Buckley and the theatrics of Rufus Wainwright. For those looking to delve into his ever-growing catalog, Until Tomorrow Then is a nice place to start.

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