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Ben Howard : Noonday Dream

The intricate instrumentation combined with the holistic vocals seems to draw together as an unarguable force of nature.

When Ben Howard emerged onto the scene back in 2011, he was lauded as a new age luminary, utilising aspects of classic English folk artists such as Bert Jansch and Nick Drake in his open-tuned folk gems. Fast forward seven years, to his third studio record Noonday Dream, and you might be a little disappointed.

The acoustic guitars that were once prominent in his sound have been relegated to the back of the mix, with electric guitar now at the front in tracks such as ‘Nica Libres at Dusk’and the seven-minute ‘A Boat To An Island On A Wall’. Yes, it’s very different from his folky beginnings, yet as a collection of songs, all of the intricate instrumentation combined with the almost holistic vocals seems to draw together as an unarguable force of nature.

While the majority of these tracks are lengthy with very slow cinematic builds, it’s worth sticking with. It’s clear that Noonday Dream is Howard’s magnum opus. Following on from the experimental brushes with arrangement and sounds on 2014’s I Forgot Where We Were, Noonday Dream hits hard on many levels and is a definite step forward as an artist for Ben Howard.