In 2011, the musical world became acquainted with the English singer/songwriter Ben Howard and his (so far) biggest hit “Keep Your Head Up”. In 2021, ten years after his debut album “Every Kingdom”, he is already releasing his fourth studio album “Collections From The Whiteout”.
For “Collections From The Whiteout” Ben Howard has teamed up with American musician, songwriter and producer Aaron Dessner (who previously produced for Taylor Swift, among others). Ben Howard and Aaron Dessner also co-wrote many of the songs on this album. A rather dreamy vibe dominates on this record, which allows the not always accessible individual tracks to merge into a nice whole. The styles on “Collections From The Whiteout” can best be described as a fusion of Folk, Indie, Rock and Electronic with a lot of use of tape loops and the necessary guitar effects.
Ben Howard used remarkable stories and headlines he came across as an inspiration for the songs on this album. He used fragments of these stories and headlines to create new stories and eventually process them into the 14 songs on this album (the vinyl version of this album has “Rumble Strip”‘ and “London Portrait” as extra tracks). On this album, one story in a song is closer to Ben Howard than the other. For example, the song “Crowhurst’s Meme” tells about the death of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst. Finders Keepers tells the story of the father of a friend of Ben Howard’s, who found a body floating in a suitcase near the River Thames.
“What A Day” was released as the first single from this album, which is a nice introduction to this album. Then followed “Crowhurst’s Meme”, “Far Out” and “Follies Fixture” as well. As a total this is a fine listening album, in which the English singer/songwriter impresses with a completely different style than people are used from him. The end result is a beautiful dreamy record. (7/10) (Islands Records Group)
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