Ben Howard “I Forget Where We Were” (2014 Island Records)

Ben Howard fans, anticipating a follow-up to his debut full-length album “Every Kingdom” released in 2011, will find themselves completely fulfilled with his stellar 2014 release, “I Forget Where We Were”.  You can really hear his personal growth as a musician deepen and take stronger roots within these tracks. Both dripping with melancholy and yet painfully hopeful, 27 year-old Howard evokes many poignant feelings through his poetic lyricism and overall album-feel. Stand-out tracks: “Small Things“, the first thing listeners hear on the album, is a heartbreakingly strong and harrowing electric guitar-driven track that sets up the album smoothly & cleanly. With a stirring, enveloping and all-encompassing guitar delay, he captures and almost entrances the listener, then keeps thehqdefaultm locked in with his playful and creative rhythmic phrases within the lyrics. Howard is a storyteller, through and through. His lyrics skip and weave in-and-out of the music in a perfect, smooth-as-glass-partnership. “In Dreams“, a gripping acoustic-heavy song, makes for the ideal soundtrack to running away and never looking back. The title track, “I Forget Where We Were“, delivers on title track status with anthemic and ever-present melancholy in perfect fashion. It simultaneously leaves the listener with their hearts bleeding on the floor, yet air-drumming and belting out the lyrics along with him. The latter half of the album stirs the sleepy and heartbroken parts of the soul with “End of the Affair” and “Evergreen“, then ends the album with a beautifully strong and emotionally-charged “All is Now Harmed“. These tracks all make the listener feeling like they’ve been through a tough but character-building breakup, ready to take on the world with an underlying hopeful nudge from the universe. Overall, this album has embodied emotion with an edge, found in Howard’s atypical electric-guitar driven songs, coupled with in-love yet pained lyrics. An absolute privilege to listen to, Howard will be gaining more and more fans with album releases as strong as this.

–Kalyn

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