Review | Ben Howard - Every Kingdom


[B]ritish singer/songwriter Ben Howard has two passions: surfing and songwriting. That’s really all you need to know about his music to make sense of it all. His debut album Every Kingdom, released in the U.S. a few months

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ago, is full of beautiful, summery tracks that could easily be the soundtrack to a great camping trip, surfing session or day spent building and sliding down a giant slip n’ slide, as the video for Keep Your Head Up (above) suggests.

But it’s not just Howard’s stellar songwriting that stick out on his debut album. His voice is just as mesmerizing. Similar to fellow British folk singer/songwriter Michael Kiwanuka who broke out around the same time, Ben Howard’s voice just stands out. His wavering vocals anchor every song on the album from the slower tunes like Promise to the more upbeat melodic tracks like The Wolves.

The real standout track on Every Kingdom is Old Pine, a slow building track that meanders through harmonies and acoustic guitars before finally reaching Howard’s vocals on the opening line, “Hot sand on toes, cold sand in sleeping bags.” Ben perfectly describes long days in the summer sun, “we stood steady as the stars in the woods. So happy-hearted and the warmth rang true inside these bones.”

Ben Howard

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will be playing a show at the Paradise in September. And though his sound is certainly better suited to an outdoor setting, he does put on an amazing live show, no matter the venue. And if you haven’t already grabbed Every Kingdom, you can grab it here. I can already tell you it’s one of my favorite 2012 releases.