Imagining My Man
4AD/Flying Nun/Remote Control
Aldous Harding’s haunting voice stretches out over the mournful music like an ocean; glistening, swirling and rolling in and out, until it comes crashing in like an Atlantic storm, powerful and full of anger and might.
Harding’s new song Imaging My Man is a dark, charming, new age acid folk song. Imaging My Man is the second single from Harding’s second studio album (and first for 4AD) Party, to be released May 19.
The song starts with drawn out and perfectly placed piano keys and carefully plucked guitar chords, sonically creating an expanse for the vocals and words to resonate.
The power of Harding’s voice is important, because the music itself is unwavering throughout the track, with only the bridge and final chorus seeing an introduction of sax and a slight change in tempo. This means the song relies heavily on Harding’s vocals to carry it, and they carry it with aplomb.
Harding could be critiqued for trying to do too much with her voice. There is a lot of vocal gymnastics, but like them or not, its Aldous vocals that set her apart. Her voice at once sounds like something innately familiar that you can empathise with, while simultaneously sounding other-worldly, and this is what makes it so spellbinding and enigmatic.
In contrast to her recently released single Horizon which is more expressionistic, global and sonically progressive than her debut album, Imagining My Man lends itself to Harding’s debut style, complete with vigilant playing and introspective lyricism. Lines such as: “It’s not what I thought and it’s not what I pictured/ When I was imagining my man/ You are so nervous all of the time,” being confessional and intimate.
Other highlights in the song are the backing vocals through the chorus from Perfume Genius as well as an indie-electronic style chanting through gaps of the chorus, both adding a modern and vibrant twist to the track.
It makes sense that Harding is from the small port town of Lyttelton in New Zealand, her music has a sense of isolation and despondency, and also a sense of wanting to connect to the world, or to anyone. All of these themes are captured beautifully in Imagining My Man, which is carried off with such delicacy and carefulness, making for an enchanting and moving song that leaves you excited for the Party to arrive.