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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 March 2013
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. These three extra tracks are as good as anything else here so I would definitely invest the bit extra if you can.

As a second album this is a treat. Its definitely a step forward, a very interesting one too. There is an air of confidence and belief here. It will be interesting to see whether he retreats again or moves more towards the approach of drums and horns alongside his guitar. However, this is as good as the first album and I never thought I would say that.
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on 14 August 2014
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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on 6 June 2013
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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on 28 September 2013
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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on 8 June 2013
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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on 6 March 2013
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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on 20 April 2014
Keaton Henson is an English, London based, Folk/Rock singer/songwriter.

He is an anxiety ridden young man, so much so sadly, you will rarely catch him performing a live set.

Keaton's art is his release and in his music you can feel his pain.

In "Birdhdays", his second full length release, a touch more edgier than his debut "Dear", but no less beautiful for it, Henson's whispery tremulous vocals, sole electric guitar paints the listener an album of deep dark emotion.
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on 17 September 2013
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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on 26 February 2013
Well; could Keaton better his first album? I didn't think so. Well I was wrong this is another masterpiece with a few diversions (Kronos) but still the delicate ephemeral qualities shine through. The poetry wonderful and the abilty to take us on a journey through these lyrics just magical.
Have a listen you won't regret it.
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on 26 May 2013
Dear was a brilliant debut album but this is even better. You and Kronos may well be my favourite songs of all time. Astonishingly good lyrics. ‘And if you die, sweetheart, Die knowing your life was my life's best part.’ Woah!
Not a duff track in sight. Have played this every day since I got it. Pity Mr Henson is so loath to perform live.
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