Home > News & Reviews > Ben Howard

Ben Howard - Noonday Dream (Album Review)

Thursday, 07 June 2018 Written by Graeme Marsh

In the years following the release of his folky, acoustic debut ‘Every Kingdom’ in 2011 Ben Howard has sought to take up a far more experimental position. ‘Noonday Dream’, his third album, is proof of his revised aims and follows the magnificent ‘I Forget Where We Were’,  an LP that remains his benchmark by some distance.

Four songs were released prior to the arrival of ‘Noonday Dream’, beginning with A Boat To An Island On The Wall, a “patchwork” of a track that had been kicking around for some time in an incomplete form. The sprawling lead cut is split into two parts totalling in excess of 12 minutes, but the real interest lies with the opening segment.

Its acoustic start leads to a scattering of sound effects and instrumentation as it slowly develops. It takes a while to go anywhere of note, and threatens a big finale that ultimately doesn’t appear, but it serves as an interesting introduction and a primer on what to expect here.

Towing The Line was another early arrival, boasting a simple, yet gorgeous, chorus. Its acoustic presence is more akin to a modern day Nick Drake than Howard’s own guise when starting out, while album opener Nica Libres At Dusk is a lush, mellow affair. The quartet is completed by another album highlight in Murmurations, a cut that kicks into something resembling ‘I Forget Where We Were’ after three and a half minutes of ambling.

During a recent interview with BBC Radio 1, Howard discussed his admiration of Talk Talk, specifically the leftfield about-turn they made with 1988’s experimental ‘Spirit of Eden’.‘Noonday Dream’ follows a similar path. In fact, it isn’t until the soothing tones of Someone In The Doorway arrive five songs in that a more traditional structure appears.

Despite claims that the new album ended up sounding nothing like Talk Talk, its driving beat is reminiscent of Happiness Is Easy, lifted from ‘The Colour of Spring’, before moving into territory usually reserved for latter-day Radiohead. The Defeat ticks along pleasantly without ever promising much more, though, while What The Moon Does is sprawling, cinematic and in need of a more defined direction.

Howard felt no pressure to deliver his third album and that shows throughout ‘Noonday Dream’. The overall impression is one of serene relaxation, in a similar fashion to a Bon Iver record. At times, though, its songs lack an identity. They’re happy instead to meander along inoffensively, settling for experimentation in place of the wonderfully crafted tracks on ‘I Forget Where We Were’. It can occasionally become heavy going despite its charm, and it's destined to perhaps only reward the listener over time.

Ben Howard Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed June 13 2018 - LONDON Eventim Apollo
Thu June 14 2018 - LONDON Eventim Apollo
Thu June 28 2018 - EDINBURGH Edinburgh Playhouse
Fri June 29 2018 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Sat June 30 2018 - ST AUSTELL Eden Project

Click here to compare & buy Ben Howard Tickets at Stereoboard.com.





Let Us Know What You Think - Leave A Comment!




Related News

Ben Howard Adds London and Birmingham Shows To 2019 Tour Plans
Tue 30 Oct 2018
Ben Howard has added dates in Birmingham and London to his tour plans.
Ben Howard Shares Three New Tracks Written During 'Noonday Dream' Sessions
Fri 14 Sep 2018
Ben Howard has shared three new tracks. 
Ben Howard Adds Third O2 Academy Brixton Show
Mon 02 Jul 2018
Ben Howard has added a third London show to his tour plans.
I Hope That People Can Find Catharsis In It: Tim Kasher Discusses Cursive's Powerful 'Vitriola'
Wed 03 Oct 2018
Photo: Tony Bonacci “The United States President is currently buddying up with every dictator and shooing away anyone who looks remotely democratic and globalist. That’s weird. That’s weird and it’s upsetting,” Tim Kasher says, discussing the inspiration behind Cursive’s first album in six years, ‘Vitriola’.
Primal Scream - Give Out But Don't Give Up: The Original Memphis Recordings (Album Review)
Tue 16 Oct 2018
Primal Scream continue to divide opinion. As a ‘90s indie band they are a bit of an also-ran: a group who produced some excellent music while being outshone by bands who had more consistency across membership and sound like Blur, Oasis and Pulp.
Cub Sport Confirm UK Shows As Part Of February European Tour, Release New Single Sometimes
Fri 05 Oct 2018
Photo: Joe Agius Cub Sport have returned with a new single and tour dates for February.
Twenty One Pilots - Trench (Album Review)
Mon 08 Oct 2018
In 2015, Twenty One Pilots got their big break. The Ohioans’ fourth album, ‘Blurryface’, summited the US chart and sent two singles into similarly rarefied air. The following year another song, Heathens, ushered in the soundtrack to the hit film, Suicide Squad. The resulting period has seen the band ascend to arena-filling stardom and paved the way for ‘Trench’, a record that combines their distinctive blend of elaborate production with re-upped nu-metal.
The Good, The Bad And The Queen Release New Track Gun To The Head, Announce New UK Shows
Mon 05 Nov 2018
Photo: Pennie Smith The Good, The Bad And The Queen have dropped a new track.
 
< Prev   Next >