Review: Ben Howard “I Forget Where We Were”

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Ben Howard first came to my attention when my friend played me some of his stuff, and i’m not going to lie I didn’t really like it at first. I don’t know it just sounded like everything else coming out around that time of folky, solo act, indie music. With people like Benjamin Francis Leftwich and James Vincent McMorrow also being around. It just really do anything for me, but I listened anyway. About a year later he released an EP “Old Pine” it was really good. It was a little bit faster the the lyrics were better one of my favourite tracks on it was “Further Away”.  Then he released more and I liked it more and more. Then his Debut album “Everything Kingdom” Came out I didn’t think it would go on to do as well as it did…but it did! Everyone loved it including me it was just a very well written, and thought out album with so much energy and it came to be played everywhere, with Howard having sold out shows and rammed festival slots, like when I first saw him at Bestival back in 2012 and I couldn’t even get into the big top, so my neck got really sun burnt and being annoyed because he didn’t play my favourite track “Empty Corridors” (highly unlikely he would anyway)

“I Forget Where We Were” was released on monday and came out on Island (Nick Drake, Bombay Bicycle Club, Jake Bugg, etc) and clocks in at 55 minutes containing 10 tracks.

“I Forget Where We Were” opens to the drifty, blues guitar which just gently eases in, with Howard’s vocals and India Bourne’s backing vocals to bring you back. its a slow moving repetitive opening with a climatic end. “Rivers In Your Mouth” is back to classic Ben, fast paced guitars, and amazing lyrics. But still with this new Bluesy almost Foals like guitar. “I Forget Where We Were” the title track of the album and also first single comes next. It full of emotional lyrics and more climatic moments with symbols and guitars coming from everywhere again. “In Dreams” flows and comes in with this fast guitar strumming and layers of strings it comes and goes just as you get into it. “She Treats Me Well” is Howard singing about how a he has a women at home and how she treats him well and how she’s basically always right when everyone is wrong. It lovely song. what really breaks up the album from all these climatic moments we’ve been having. “Time Is Dancing” starts with a distant, echoing guitar, then all the drums, strings and singing come in to match. With the drums also sounding far away, almost barely noticeable just gently staying in the distant with Howard at the front in this track. “Evergreen” carries on this echoing guitar. Then comes back in with these big banging drums, but they don’t come in hard, just effortfully flow. “End Of An Affair” is another slow moving track, with separated guitar strums, Howards voice justs flow over these guitar breaks. To then more elements come in to meet each-other it then goes quite and picks up, and goes quite fast, almost something from Foals again, but with his own style to it. Penultimate track “Conrad” is another echoing track, with humming that has you instantly humming back. Final track “All Is Now Harmed” brings all the echoing elements back together one last time, and the track just gets better it’s one big final climax with sounds growing louder and louder.

“I Forget Where We Were” I feel contains more climatic moments compared to its predecessor “Every Kingdom” and because of these moments in the record. It just feels more emotional at times, and it really grabs you and takes you away for 55 minutes. Compared to “Every Kingdom” just having almost everything together at once. But this record develops, and I think the more I listen to it, it will just get better and better.

4.2/5

Key Tracks: “Small Things” “Rivers In Your Mouth” and “End Of The Affair”

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