When New Zealand folk artist Aldous Harding shared “Imagining My Man,” the lead single from her sophomore album Party, in March, the enigmatic song made it clear that while it’s rooted in indie and folk styles, the last thing you can do with her music is put it in a box.
On the track, Harding switches between a deep, almost masculine voice and a lighter but still resonant vocal style. That’s underscored by more gripping oddity, with a somber, piano-led instrumental broken up by the sounds of a group of children shouting “YES,” which hints at a greater level of excitement than the song initially seems to possess.
The rest of the album is similarly engaging, and it was just released today via 4AD. Thankfully, Party treads similar territory that “Imagining My Man” did: traditionally-rooted experimental music that fans of St. Vincent and Cat Power ought to get a kick out of.
Harding broke down the album song-by-song for NPR and said of “Imagining My Man”:
“It’s just about all of the… tender and frightening thoughts that come with being in love. And growing up, and trying to figure out what the hell it is that you want. And trying to love another person, when you’re constantly pushing your own plate away, isn’t easy. It’s no one’s fault, that’s just how it happens sometimes. You’ve just got to ride it out.”
Listen to Party below.