This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
Monsters, we are told, is how Ed Harcourt views his songs.
Admittedly, beauty may be in the eye — or in this case, the ear — of the beholder, but perhaps Ed wants to report for some sort of sensory checkup. He’s obviously hearing something I’m not. To my hammers and anvils, the 11 tunes on his debut full-length Here Be Monsters are gorgeous little beasties. Sure, he has a rather dark worldview that tends to manifest itself in his minor-key melodies, melancholy moods and lyrics like, “I don’t mind if I lose / ’Cause if I win I’ll be so confused,” delivered in a voice that teeters on the edge of desperation at the best of times. But for a guy who obviously has more problematic baggage than the lost-luggage department, Harcourt crafts some of the most compelling and stirring pop ballads this side of Rufus Wainwright and Tom Waits. These monsters won’t hurt you one bit.