by Kyle Taylor
London singer-songwriter received a great deal of positive attention from his debut album, Every Kingdom, in 2012. A minimal acoustic rock sound blending a delightful touch of folk and just a pinch of pop, it’s progressive compositions are hard to resist.
The young musician’s follow-up, I Forget Where We Were, is more than likely to receive a staggering increase in attention and praise. It certainly has earned it from these ears. Through the record, Howard manages to refine his sound greatly, taking any pop elements and masking them almost completely. In fact, the album’s title track seems to provide the record it’s only moments of straying into uncomfortably familiar moments, and even though, the song’s simplistic beauty manages to overtake these moments.
The album maintains plenty of influence from both rock and folk, yet Howard’s songwriting is much more mature here than on his debut. There are no more catchy choruses. Instead, Howard devotes his time more attentively to his his guitar, demonstrating an adept understanding of the instrument that was much less frequently showcased on the predecessor to I Forgot Where We Were.
The average length of the album’s tracks is 5 minutes and 20 seconds, giving Howard plenty of time to develop his ideas. Parallel and uncomfortably simple song structures are completely absent within the record; instead, each song blossoms as it unravels.
Any heart-felt acoustic album is going to inevitably discuss the struggles of life, and of course, love lost. In this way, the record does wander into arguably familiar territory. However, the tired nature of such content is easily forgotten through Howard’s unique lens. The singer’s voice drips with sincerity; his words, with awareness, from the very first emission of sound to the final fading chord.
Ben Howard – “I Forget Where We Were” — Buy on iTunes