|Antony Harding might be the only person to obey his mum’s injunction that “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. Even when his romantic adventures end badly, there’s no revenge or remorse; “bitter” always comes packaged with “sweet” in Ant’s world. Even bad experiences yield fond memories.
Anyone familiar with his previous work will know what to expect: 13 tender and delicate songs detailing love found, love lost, hearts aching and occasional fulfilment. That could be cloying but in Ant’s hands it works well because of his way with melody, his emotive voice and the arrangements. Recorded in Bologna, Italy, this is Ant’s first “proper” studio album and he’s made use of the time to set up his songs. From the acoustic guitar and simple percussion on the pretty ‘When Your Heart Breaks (Into Many Little Pieces)’ to the tenderly plucked violins of ‘Spent Too Long Walking With No Heart To Follow’ and the droning keyboards and trumpet on ‘Change With the Season’, the accompaniment adds splashes of colour to his songs.
Occasionally it falls into a loop (‘We Didn’t Move a Muscle’ is the slightest song on here) but when it works well the broader sound reminds you of some of the Fence Collective and, in the electric piano of ‘In Your Dreams’, the Ladybug Transistor. But more than anything it sounds like Ant: sensitive, romantic, hopeful Ant. Unfulfiled dreams, unrequited love, snow, cold and walking home alone never sounded so desirable.