Album Review: Ben Howard – Every Kingdom

There is something very special about music that can take you back to the place where you hold all of your fondest memories. Luckily for Ben Howard, he knows how to do just that. For any artist/band, releasing their debut album is a huge part of their musical journey. Your first album is what’s essentially going to reflect what you are about to your audience. Every Kingdom is definitely a reflection on Ben Howard’s raw musical talent and his honest lyrics really take you on a little journey of his life.

For those of you who are unaware, Ben Howard is a 24-year-old singer-songwriter who originates from South Devon. Growing up in Devon is obviously going to have a good impact on anyone’s upbringing, being a county that is awashed with inspiration and certainly allows the creative juices to flow. For most musicians it takes a few years to get a good following, and although Ben only signed his record deal with Island/Universal at the beginning of 2011, he has been hard at work for a long time, gigging with his band, made up of Chris Bond (Bass+Drums) and India Bourne (Cello), through that sensational collective and platform that is Communion. Word of mouth has spread and he has really created a buzz around the arrival of Every Kingdom, which is released today – Monday 3rd October 2011.

The album opens with Old Pine, which is the perfect way to set the relaxing, atmospheric mood of the album. “Hot sand on toes, cold sand in sleeping bags” is the opening line to the track – a fine example of Ben’s upbringing in Devon, making the listener instantly imagine days on the luscious Devon beaches. If you ever feel like you want to reminisce on your summer memories, this song will definitely help free up your mind to do so. 

The tasteful, sometimes simplistic (but not in a bad way), expressive instrumentation that runs throughout this album also breathes a likeness to Bon Iver, which is a huge compliment to Ben. His music feels very natural, as if he hasn’t had to try too hard to create something absolutely beautiful – the entire record really captures Ben’s natural ability as a songwriter. 

Furthermore, the melodic vocal lines, backed by captivating harmonies on almost every song, never fail to impress! Most of the chorus’s are very catchy, but in a mature way, as the lyrical content is always meaningful.With singles like Keep Your Head Up and Old Pine, Every Kingdom is sure to impress and Ben Howard’s success is only going to continue to grow.

Whilst listening to this album and trying to choose my own personal favourite, I finally came to the conclusion that I didn’t have one, I love every single song. Each song holds a different tale and feeling, yet each song on the album flows so naturally into each other. This is one of those albums that will remind you of the past, capture the present and lead you to the future.

Every Kingdom is available now, via Universal/Island



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