Mesmerized I watched the artist who was performing. Up till now, she had been unknown to me. Dressed in a white outfit, as if she was part of that gang of thugs in A Clockwork Orange, this woman delivered a performance that was gripping and uncanny at the same time. The shifting voices, the strange grins and the conviction with which she was pouring her soul and heart out, it seemed to serve as an exorcism ritual. I was stunned by the high stamina of her act solely consisting of a sparse melancholic piano and a voice.
A feeling I dealt with by straight away and thoroughly researching this New Zealand-born artist and her work. Which revealed that she had just released her second studio album, ‘Party’. An album produced by John Parish, a.o. known through his collaborations with PJ Harvey, Sparklehorse and Perfume Genius. With the latter making twice a guest appearance on the album.
The album, one could call it folky, is dark, hypnotizing and at moments raw and intensely personal. It allows the various and quite diverse voices of Ms. Harding to flourish upon a bed of spot on and subtle instrumentation. Thus allowing them to take you into this slightly uncomfortable but ever so beautiful world. Picking favorite tracks is impossible, every song is a gem on its own. There’s no doubt ‘Party’ will feature in my ‘Best of 2017’ list somewhere in December. That is if I ever would bother to make these kinds of lists.