Saturday, 1 September 2012

Music For Life : Benjamin John Howard


All rise for Ben Howard...

A charming, twenty something surfer come folk musician tipped by The Independent to be among ‘This Year’s Hottest Acts’, along with prized names such as The Joy Formidable, Crystal Fighters and Ghostpoet. After sold out dates in the UK and Europe, Howard was immediately signed to Island Records and is set to release his debut album ‘Every Kingdom’ this coming October.

Being described as ‘Britain’s answer to Bon Iver’ on several occasions is an extremely fair and complementing statement, especially when you hear the unforgettable lingers of Howard’s delicate tones in ‘The Wolves’ via haunting howls and soulful faint drones. Similarities also scream out to James Vincent McMorrow, David Gray and at times a tinge of Anthony Hegarty. Religious references and sincere orchestral strings add a sentimental emotive value cutting against the folk guitar patterns and soft militarily drum beat as Howard bellows “We lost faith, in the arms of love.”

The song reveals a relentless war between love and its consequences - Howard as acting General whilst his Lieutenants reinforce his orders through empowering vocals as they march on into battle. Ben Howard is a colossal talent and it’s certain his music will win the heart of every individual that listens to it.

The Wolves, originally released last June will reach a larger audience this month as it highlights Howard at his best. The strum of the acoustic guitar along with the layered string section fit with the atmospheric vocals casually but with precision. The structure is not straight-forward as he gets more aggressive as it goes on, by-passing the verse-chorus-verse technique as the common arrangements come-and-go without sequence. The complexity isn't just in the structure, the way he uses his voice is skilful as he reaches high and low pitches effortlessly but it helps guide the mood of the song.

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