Ben Howard - The Burgh Island EP
Ben Howard's follow up to his successful debut album Every Kingdom is this lush and spookily wondrous little EP Burgh Island. And, despite the brevity, it is a little gem.
By putting the acoustic guitar aside and going electric, Howard's new songs have a mysterious quality to them; things are familiar yet somehow different. It's unsettling, yet exciting and exhilarating at the same time. 'Esmerelda' wanders in, the frantic strumming of the guitar like someone pacing back an forth, and then Howard's voice drifts in, adding to the tension with his fervent delivery. The quiet melancholy of 'Oats In The Water' has the feel of a ghost story; once again the guitar feels restless and tense, giving the song a sense of urgency and menace. 'To Be Alone' is gorgeous and creepy, the noises at the start sound like malevolent spirits trying to find a way in, and title track (with Monica Heldal helping out on vocals) is a beautifully sad, haunting ballad. Let's hope this is just a taster for more great things to come.