Curtis Harding – If Words Were Flowers
As contemporary R'n'B embraces the electronic, Curtis Harding's third album remains grounded in the simple beauty of live instrumentals
Curtis Harding is an enigma, a throwback in a modern world, hypnotised by the psychedelic horns of jazz and the soothing grooves of soul. As contemporary R'n'B embraces the electronic, his third album, If Words Were Flowers, remains grounded in the simple beauty of live instrumentals. This is a collection of songs that are sleek and polished without being overproduced.
There’s a haunting choir harmony in the background of Hopeful and operatic strings that soar throughout With You, but it’s just enough as he straddles the line between lovelorn crooner and fatalistic commentator. Where's the Love, reminiscent of Gil Scott-Heron, invokes a cinematic tension as Harding pointedly asks for empathy in an increasingly divided world over a sparse but dramatic beat.
So Low is the closest we get to Harding embracing the 21st Century, where – with an 808s & Heartbreak-inspired vocoder over his vocals – he gives in to the vulnerability that’s eating through his body and soul and creates the most experimental song in his catalogue. As an album, If Words Were Flowers won’t win Harding any new fans but it is a contemplative, thoughtful exploration of modern love through the prism of traditionalist soul.
Listen to: Where's The Love, Hopeful, I Won’t Let You Down