The singer was dressed in black and stood alone on the dark stage, with occasional bursts of white light behind her. She crooned her signature, breathy timbre, elongating each syllable just behind the downbeat, and waved her hands around in anxious tics as if conducting an orchestra. Her movements added a theatrical flair to the song, propelled by rumbling bass and massive drum fills.
The Jools Holland episode was also the series’ first all-female installment and featured Lorde’s favorite new artist – and fellow New Zealander – Aldous Harding. The two singers explore a similar pop blend of melancholy and uplift. In March, Lorde tweeted her appreciation for Harding. “This song blows my head off. Soft flurry of gut punches. I think Aldous is the most interesting musician around,” she wrote, linking Harding’s “Imagining My Man” video.
The rising singer-songwriter performed her arresting new single, “Horizon” with dramatic intensity. Harding assumed a two-legged power stance, hardly budging, while she twisted her face and gesticulated in wild supplication.
Harding played “Horizon” with help from a piano player, as she does on recording. (The version on her album also sounds like it has some strings in it.) The minimal accompaniment throws the versatility of Harding’s voice into sharp relief: she can move from deep and resonant to teasingly high on a dime.
Harding is currently on tour in support of Party. After a series of gigs in Europe, she touches down in the United States in June.