Peering out beneath the peak of a blue baseball cap, Christchurch, New Zealand’s Aldous Harding cut a fairly unassuming figure on the sleeve of her 2014 debut. Often tagged – and by the artist herself – as ‘gothic folk’, the music inside was brittle, spartan and, in places, beautiful. There was darkness, and hints of the fantastic – particularly on the brace of songs named for Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy – but Harding’s voice was an eerie, feather-light thing, with raw, quavering hints of Kate Bush, Melanie Safka or Jessica Pratt’s unearthly warble. Beginning typically, with a rolling classical guitar and a melancholy, whispered plea of a vocal, full of oblique asides (“I really need you back again…somewhere, I have a watercolour you did”), the opening Blend quickly ups the tension with the tick-tick-punch of a drum machine and faint, alien shimmers of electronics. It’s these extra elements, these extra colours in the palette, which set Party apart from Harding’s debut, along with a marked difference to her singing style, all evident from the remarkable second track, Imaging My Man. Shifting moods and voices effortlessly, Harding is an often technically astonishing performer, and Party is a work of quiet power. An inviting, captivating darkness.