Considered by Lorde as “the most interesting musician around,” receiving a thumbs up from UK’s sweetheart Charlotte Church and hometown friends Yumi Zouma, New Zealand’s folk-child Aldous Harding has been slowly distancing herself from the demons that brought her into songwriting. Party, produced by PJ Harvey’s long-time collaborator John Parish, will be Harding’s second full-length release, with which she aims to find brighter days and worldwide reach, now under the watch of 4AD.

Born into a family of musicians in Lyttelton, located in the southeastern part of Christchurch, New Zealand, Hannah Claynails Harding didn’t envision pursuing a career in music. It was not until she started a creative collaboration with folk-singer Nadia Reid that she realised that being a veterinarian wasn’t really her destiny. She was later picked up by artist Anika Moa while touring with string band The Eastern, where her songwriting talent was recognized and she finally achieved her first taste of local success.

Aldous Harding’s 2014 self-titled debut allowed the singer to expand and share her voice with all who sought comfort in heartbreaking love songs. With this new record, Harding is showing us another side. Despite already having been compared to Scott Walker or Kate Bush, Aldous has something special: a voice that takes you into your own darkness.

‘Horizon’, Party’s first single, is emotionally complex but also technically simple; only a piano and her voice, undoubtedly her strongest asset, are needed. No other instruments are involved, but who needs them when you’re able to write a colossal song with 3 chords and the lyrics instantly throw you into tears? This is powerful stuff.

‘Imagining My Man’ has a helping hand from Perfume Genius’ Mike Hadreas, but the best is always kept for last. On each track on Party, Harding is able to showcase her voice in different forms: the title-track resembles an early Joanna Newsom, while ‘Swell Does The Skull’ recaptures the essence of Vashti Bunyan. Somewhere along the way you can also sense Joni Mitchell while hearing the words to ‘I’m So Sorry’. Similarities and comparisons are not to be seen as a bad thing. It shows versatility and Aldous Harding has it.

I reckon that ‘powerful simplicity’ best describes how Aldous Harding chooses to express her vulnerable self. On Party her songs are minimalistic, but they carry an emotional weight to which no one is able to stay indifferent. If a voice this endearing has the ability of lifting you up as much as putting you down, then it means you’re listening to someone genuine with an undoubted star quality.