Ben Howard’s new LP targets the purist punters

Ben Howard Image
Howard’s concerts are widely known for their intensity and simplicity. Photo: Abigail Hoekstra

A couple of Brit Awards, a Glastonbury performance on the Pyramid Stage and a debut album raved about by fans and peers. Life is pretty sweet for Ben Howard and the singer has just released his long-awaited second album I Forgot Where We Were.  

As his new album’s title suggests, Howard’s fans have been left shorn of fresh material from the English singer-songwriter. That wait – thankfully – is finally over.

If the 27-year-old’s debut album Every Kingdom was seen as quintessential Ben Howard (acoustic melodies blended in with expressive lyrics as exemplified in classics like ‘The Fear’ and ‘Only Love’), Howard’s new album I Forget Where We Were can definitely be seen as an electronic experiment. Howard’s latest offering also sets him down the start of a different path than that travelled by others in his genre such as James Vincent McMorrow, George Ezra and Nick Mulvey.

The opening song ‘Small Things’ serves as a fitting bridge between albums new and old, with Howard’s poetic lyrics being complemented by a new, reverberating sound. The album’s title track and ‘Time Is Dancing’ are also worth a second or third listen.

An album filled with atmospheric instrumentals, the sheer lengths of the songs (seven of the 10 playing over the five-minute mark) make this less of a radio-targeted album and more of one for the purists, perhaps those that prefer the returning medium of vinyl.

Having the potential to be a perfect driving album, one wonders whether Ben Howard pieced together the ideas behind this soundtrack during his travels from the professionalism of London and beyond to where he really feels at home: the countryside and surfing-friendly shores of Devon, England.

Ben Howard will play two sold-out concerts in the Olympia Theatre, Dublin on December 7 and 8.

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