50/50 1) Aldous Harding – Designer
When Aldous Harding performed in London this month, an enamoured fan cried out that they loved her. “I appreciate that,” she replied softly. “But, I’m busy.” The response is Harding to a T – wry, weird, introspective, focused. Her spectacular, singular third album, Designer, is all of those things. Taking the left-field folk that made her name and splashing post-psych pop and jittery orchestral flourishes onto the canvas, the New Zealander harbours secrets while beckoning you in.
“It’s better to live with melody and have an honest time/ Isn’t that right?” she asks on “Fixture Picture”, before wearily concluding that “you can’t be pure and in love”. On “Zoo Eyes”, on which her voice plummets to its lowest register, she asks two questions in succession, as if they’re of equal import: “What am I doing in Dubai in the prime of my life? Do you love me?” It is an exquisite, enigmatic record. (AP)