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Birthdays [VINYL] Limited Edition

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Product Features

  • Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging

Product details

  • Vinyl (25 Feb. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Limited Edition
  • Label: Oak Ten Records
  • ASIN: B009X1XWNE
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 241,998 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Teach Me
2. 10am Gare du Nord
3. You
4. Lying To You
5. The Best Today
Disc: 2
1. Don't Swim
2. Kronos
3. Beekeeper
4. Sweetheart, What Have You Done To Us
5. In the Morning

Product Description

BBC Review

In this frantic Twitterworld, where all the genres of music are either mating with other genres, feeding on the past or searching for the next trending wave, Keaton Henson personifies the moment when time stops still.

It’s the almost shocking sound of one man and his gently stoked electric guitar, which flicks like the embers of a fire, as the singer’s voice glows in the reflected light, safe in his panic room.

Crippled by anxiety since childhood, to the point that he rarely goes out or plays live, the wondrously bearded Keaton is the archetypal tortured recluse who channels his emotions not into shopping or clubbing but his art: he’s a skilled illustrator too, of bare-boned drawings that are as starkly delineated as his guitar-playing.

Birthdays follows 2012’s cult debut album Dear..., and for its first half, Henson avoids slipping into post-dubstep, chillwave or hiring Skrillex in order to fit in.

But there is change underfoot. Dear… featured one drum track, so the subtle beat behind The Best Today is no biggie. But half way through the following Don’t Swim, it’s like an ember has landed in your lap.

The song’s sudden electrical charge, which persists through the following, thunderous Kronos, is the sound of Henson wrenched from his comfort zone. Birthdays’ second track suggests he’s even reached Paris.

In fact, the whole album was recorded in California by American producer Joe Chiccarelli (The Shins, The Strokes). And various guests, including Jesca Hoop on ghostly backing vocals, have chipped in.

Birthdays’ second half takes Heaton closer to Jeff Buckley’s turf: the unforced vibrato, the goosepimply effect and romantic hunger. But it’s a subtle shift, and the instrumentation only partially reconfigures the secluded spell.

Beekeeper’s occasional bouts of rock doesn’t drown out the soft peals of banjo, while the swell of French horns, martial drum and Henson’s fluttering voice in Sweetheart, What Have You Done to Us sounds like he’s still in his bedroom.

Up there, warmed by the fire, he’s cloistered away from Twitter and all the other evils of this parish. There’s no better way to shut out the din than by putting this record on.

--Martin Aston

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Syriat TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Mar. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Keaton Henson's debut album, Dear, was a delicate heartfelt album of one man, his guitar and a lot of pain and care. This follow up is the sound of him expanding that sound slightly. Its almost like listening to a painfully shy man emerge, gain confidence and then retreat again. Like the man himself? Perhaps. But during this album that's the journey you will hear.

Early on the sound is eerily similar to the first album. Electric Guitar, that voice and not much else on Teach Me and the beautiful 10AM, Gare Du Nord. In fact it comes as a total shock when listening to The Best Today that the delicate approach is enhanced by drums and more noise. It feels that the man himself wants to try and mix things up and Don't Swim follows this and does the job. Starting in the usual mode of vocal and guitar Henson then decides to throw in a loud and brash guitar and drums instrumental piece towards the end of the track. It sounds like something almost Post Rock like. Its a wonderful addition.
Kronos then swaggers into view and could be on any rock album, snarling riffs and loud quiet approach this could be grunge music. Or maybe something Jeff Buckley, Elliott Smith or similar company would consider too brash for their albums when they were making them. The Beekeeper has Banjo, drums and keyboards and sounds a little like some Fleetwood Mac tracks in its composition and chorus - think mid 70's country influenced Fleetwood Mac here though. Gradually though the noise and mood recedes and whilst Sweetheart, What Have You Done To Us has a return to the more introspective approach before horns take over. The deluxe edition contains three extra tracks, two quite quiet and the rather fantastic If I Don't Have To which is another of the new approach numbers.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful album of songs from the man who recently contributed some of the haunting and touching songs for 'In The Flesh', which if you haven't seen make sure you do soon! Keaton is a sensitive and economical song-writer, knowing when to play with a picking or a strumming style and the songs can be sparse or lush depending on the mood and tone of the songs. I especially love Teach Me, Lying to You and Don't swim for their breathtaking poignancy and their raw emotive power. There is no doubt that these songs are personal and experiential and they are all essentially 'break-up' or break-down? songs, so if you're looking for pop or power ballads or disco you might want to look elsewhere. But for powerful, sensitive and raw emotion with beautiful chords and melodies just put on 'You' and sink back into your chair, your bath or your angst and just lap up the enveloping mood of awesome loneliness and pain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bjackson on 6 Mar. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Progressive of Dear, and we finally hear an angry Keaton in the track Kronos. My personal favourite is You, due to the line "if you must leave, leave as though fire burns under your feet", though all are lovely, softly sung and very emotive
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
On track one I thought there was a sound effect like my dishwasher running in the background. It's not, it's the record. It's picture disk surface noise I've since discovered and I've never heard it before. Certainly not as loud that I noticed it. It's quite hypnotic as it whooshes and you watch the record going round

I'm not sure of the benefit of the gatefold sleeve as I have limited space and it's not the most amazing artwork I have ever seen

I still quite enjoyed the sort of wailing whooshing whining music, and the more angry side two

Happy I bought it and will download the mp3 freebie for my pod rather than recording the record
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Format: Audio CD
Keaton Henson is a very very special talent and is still a secret to record buying public. This album ranks highly among the other beautiful albums that came out over the last year -Paul Buchanan and Bill Fay - and what a joy it is to find it. Don't pause or doubt about buying this album quality like this comes around so rarely. Birthdays will corner your emotions and immerse you with the themes that it explores. Very very special....
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By nshb on 6 Jun. 2013
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
I prefer "Dear", but only marginally. Yay Keaton Henson! This is the first time I've actually bought a digital album of music I'd never heard before. I prefer the hard copy for new music. The buying process is a lot easier than when I tried it in the past - glad that technology has updated since 2006!!! - so I'm pleased overall.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Everybodies tastes are different so I never see much point in reviewing music. All I can say for this is, give it a chance and it will work it's way in to your heart. A beautiful work full of raw emotion from a man very willing to bear his soul for his art.
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By Daydream Believer on 10 Nov. 2013
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
This album from Keaton Henson is spectacular. The songs are heartfelt and touching and sound very personal. Music that is simultaneously relaxing and intimate. Definitely an artist to watch!
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