Every Kingdom Single
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Debut studio album by the Brit Award winning singer-songwriter. The album debuted at #7 in the UK Albums Chart and includes the singles 'Old Pine', 'The Wolves' and 'Keep Your Head Up'.
He describes himself as a "keen surfer", and recently gave a series of beachside gigs in aid of keeping Britain's shores "barefoot-friendly", but if you're about to parkour your way to any conclusions, don't. Ben Howard most certainly isn't the "UK's answer to Jack Johnson".
What he is, on the evidence of this impressive debut album, is a gifted and immediately involving singer-songwriter. The 23-year-old from Devon - or "Devonshire", as his record company rather self-consciously refers to his home county - has pretty diverse musical tastes: he posts videos by artists as disparate as Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin and Robyn on his personal blog. However, it's the music of John Martyn and Bon Iver, both of whom he listens to "a lot", that has a tangible impact on his sound.
That's right, this fella's a folkie: his musical tools are nimbly-plucked guitar strings, near-choral backing harmonies, percussion that feels pastoral rather than processed, the evocative tones of India Bourne's cello. The term 'folk-pop' rather brings to mind JCB Song one-hit wonders Nizlopi, which Howard's music rather does not, but the lad does have a knack for a hook: with its sing-along chorus and positive sentiments, current single Keep Your Head Up could almost be called a "self-empowerment anthem".
Radio-friendly it may be, but there's nothing fey about Howard's folk: his up-tempo numbers have the muscular momentum of a galloping stallion, while his more subdued songs are underpinned by sinewy rhythms and a certain weightiness of theme. For example, the lovely Everything deals with the inevitability of renewal and change, while the slow-building and panoramic Black Flies is essentially a break-up song.
Whether he's singing about love or the world around him, Howard invariably taps the natural world for imagery: this is an album of horses and wolves, the wind and the sea, in which one's relative insignificance in the scheme of things is likened to being "just a blade in the grass". But what could seem clich�d on the page has resonance on record, thanks to the husky soulfulness of Howard's voice and the sheer good nature of his songwriting. By the time he uses the album's closing track to ask his paramour "Who am I to you?", you're really hoping her answer is "The One".
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Top Customer Reviews
I don't usually like listening to the radio, nor do I ever like a track on first hearing it.
Neither of these were true here.
As soon as I got home, I had to make my husband find the track on the internet and listen to it whilst I went to Amazon to buy the song.
I bought the single but, was gutted to see that I'd have to wait for the album.
But, time's up and finally I could download it.
I hate to use the word catchy but, that's what happens with this music. It catches you, hooks you, gets right in there and sticks in your head.
I think this is going to be played over and over until I know every song word for word.
Ben Howard is supremely talented and is surely destined for big, big things.
In a world where our ears are constantly assaulted with ever increasingly plastic, non-inspiring, formulaic produce from X-factor and other corporate arenas resulting in a chart devoid of music for the soul, and where of my generation (34) we have been lacking proper representation of talent in the folk/singer/songwriter mainstream for a long time since Damien Rice's brilliant 0; finally we have someone to draw inspiration from.
Modern music needs Ben Howard.
If you like Bon Iver, Nick Drake, Damien Rice et all, then dont even think about it...just buy it. It will warm your soul...
In fact, if you like good music, buy this album.
If perhaps, like me, you were dissapointed with Ed Sheran's debut- purchase this and be thoroughly satisfied...
By accident I came across Every Kingdom and gave it a try simply because I liked the cover: Water in Green and Blue with sparkling sunshine.
What I heard seemed to be nice and different, however, some weeks passed until I went on another research tour and again stumbled over Every Kingdom.
This time I downloaded the album and since then have not been able to stop listening. I bought the Bonus Edition and now I am so happy about the Burgh Island E.P.
Every Kingdom has both the joyful and romantic songs...hope and fear, light and darkness. Only Love is not my favorite song anymore although I still love it. There is so much more.
What is now so special about this album or Ben Howard?
Lyrics that are so natural and poetic go under your skin. Melodies are like a morning walk over foggy fields before the sun comes up.
This man plays his guitar and sings his songs with a true and beautiful voice. He sings from the heart. Poets still exist! How wonderful.
I hope that this extravagant quality of being real will not fade away!
The bonus tracks are all unique and show a side to Ben Howard that you don't really see in standard version. You get tracks like I Will Be Blessed and bones that are very slow and mellow, a couple of live performances like Empty Corridors that are fun the listen to and are guaranteed to get your body moving and These Waters and Under The Same Sun that he plays in a very unique way.
All in all perfect album if you want more of Ben Howard.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good tunes. All down to personal preference.
Love getting my CD copy for Hi-Fi and a digital version for on-the-go. Thanks Amazon !!
Love Love Love! Honestly can't get enough! On repeat and never bored! Great talent! Definitely nowhere near enough recognition deserved! Recommend 100%. Love every song included! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sadie69
Ben can do no wrong in any of his alums/ep's. Loved this album since it came out years ago. Beautiful songs for a beautiful mood.Published 5 months ago by Harriet