I’m going to hit you with an onslaught of ‘On Repeat’ posts shortly, from the looks of it. I’ve been busy with uni and the like for the past few months, but now I’m back with more recommendations and reviews of some damn sweet tunes. Festival season is upon us and, to soothe my disappointment that I’m too skint to attend any festivals again this year; I’m indulging myself on all the Indie/Electronica releases I can get my paint-chipped fingers on.
So, when I manage to tear myself away from Dry The River’s phenomenal debut: Shallow Bed, mysterious newcomer Henson is my first port o’call. I’m just going to throw it out there that I’ve rarely heard such a wonderful album that is written solely about the artist’s past heartbreaks – despite the self-indulgent pining laced into almost every lyric, there’s a fragility that Beth Cosentino could only dream to recreate. That’s a tad harsh actually: I am a Best Coast fan, but there’s only so much of Best Coast’s ‘Crazy For You‘ that I can tolerate before the catchiness turns into annoyance at her constant whining. And there’s no other album so strongly revolved around lamenting the past that I can think of.
I really ought not to be writing this post yet, given my obsessive tendency to absolutely wear out songs that really stick out to me, before I completely listen to an album. My top picks, on that note, are currently my first favourite and a massive hit on my Spotify – ‘You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are‘. The song speaks to what can only be presumed as his love’s new love, self-deprecatingly questioning him with the likes of “Do you laugh just to think what I lack?” and forever giving me goosebumps with the delivery of the line “Does he know not to talk about your dad?”. The words look empty without his unique, almost-croaky voice, which brings a complete other dimension to an otherwise overdone theme of love and loss.
Two other favourites are ‘Charon‘ and ‘Small Hands‘. Both of which are significantly more chirpy than the aforementioned ‘You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are’, yet still both are utterly melancholic lyrically. I would, however, recommend that you don’t listen to ‘Charon’ before sleeping: I have had the line “There’ll be coins on my eyes” ringing through my head every morning lately. Not that I’m particularly complaining.
Another thing that strikes me with Henson is his creativity moves out from just his blatantly raw music. His videos are little pieces of visual art within themselves, using stop-motion and animation to bring that folksy accompaniment to his music that it so justly deserves. And if that wasn’t enough, I happened upon a feature on his website where you can “read Dear” – a quaint collection of drawings by the artist, intertwining random lyrics from the album with abstract drawings and some nods to his muses. You can find all his videos and the arty piece – here.
The folksy acoustic theme to this album, with the addition of the artwork/videos reminds me a lot of Laura Marling – and that is never a bad thing. I’m looking forward to seeing what else this guy has to offer in the future. Although, I have heard that he has no plans of gigs at present, due to absolutely crippling stage fright. Let’s hope he knows how many people already love his music.
As usual, most tracks with links go straight to Spotify, folks! Here’s the all important album link: Keaton Henson – Dear.