This is the first taste of Ed Harcourt's sixth studio album Back Into the Woods, which was recorded in just six hours at the legendary Abbey Road studios. It's an album riddled with remorse, but there's a playfulness to these redemption songs. "Me? No, I have no regrets" says Ed in a cod-French accent to the tune of 'Non, je ne regrette rien'.
Back Into the Woods will be released on February 25th 2012 via CCCLX Music, the new label set up by Sean Adams, the founder of Drowned in Sound. At times, the new album feels like the moment when this charming and cherished writer of quintessentially British songs, finally finds the shoes that fit his feet. "I've certainly learnt a lot about love, lust and loss since my last record," proffers Harcourt, "being woken up by children at 6am and then turning up at my studio to 'work' and write songs with people like Lisa-Marie Presley and Paloma [Faith], has forced me to experiment and explore, and elevate my own songs. Everyday I venture to far off and far out places, only to come back home and discover more about the man I really am."
Rumours that the dapper gent who spent thousands of pounds sinking a piano in the name of album cover art, and who penned the fizzy-pop of 'Born In the 70s' and 'Shanghai' has mellowed, are greatly exaggerated. "Back Into the Woods is more like a restoration project, where you find all this incredible wallpaper lurking behind the wood panelling. I don't know what's changed, if anything, but maybe I've just given up panning for another fool's gold. All I know is that I'm happy I'm not digging graves for a living..."
Aside from collaborating and writing 100s of songs with everyone from Ren Harvieu to Josh T. Pearson, Ed's extra-curricular activities since 2010's Lustre have included scoring songs for For No Good Reason a documentary about Ralph Steadman, as well as the follow-up to Donnie Darko, S.Darko. He's also rather proud of a set of shelves that still haven't fallen down.
Live Dates: Ed Harcourt headlines London's Cecil Sharp House on December 19th 2012. He will also perform with the Dirty Pretty Strings at Union Chapel alongside Carl Barat, Brett Anderson and more to raise money for Noah's Ark Children's Hospice on 23rd November.