“Almost too serious,” is how Ben Howard has described this second album, and sure enough there he is on the monochrome cover, brows furrowed and half-wreathed in darkness.
Yet while this is a more shadowed affair than the Brit Award-winner’s debut, 2011’s ‘Every Kingdom’, there’s little here to alienate his fanbase: these 10 tracks might sprawl in length but they’ve a familiar mesh of earnest words and slow builds, autumnal in hue but with a fireside warmth.
The E-bowing grows a little wearing, perhaps, but there’s an appealing economy to the songwriting and a restraint that makes the breaks – particularly ‘The End Of The Affair’’s bruising cataclysm – all the more biting.
Words: Christian Cottingham
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