‘Ben Howard – End of the Affair’ Track Review

Since winning two Brit awards in 2013, Ben Howard has been relatively absent from the music scene. Only making a couple of festival appearances here and there, Ben Howard has taken a different approach to usual Brit award winners. Usually they try and release new material as quickly as possible whilst they have maximum exposure and release numerous tours. Ben Howard however hasn’t released any new music since his fantastically dark Burgh Island EP that he released in November 2012.

Now he’s returned with a track called End of the Affair, which is taken from his upcoming second album. This 8 minute track takes the same tone as the Burgh Island EP as it is much darker and brooding than the material found on his debut Every Kingdom. The first 4 minutes of the track see Ben Howard being Ben Howard. He puts the usual string snapping strain on the guitar and he is slowly preparing us for the epic finale of the song.

The second half starts off really atmospheric with guitars playing distantly in the background and indecipherable vocals that echo and surround you. Then things start to pick up with guitars that could be mistaken for being in an Oxford math rock band. Bursts of drums are introduced along with Ben Howard howling lyrics with his raspy voice. Everything then becomes calm again and Ben’s echo soaked screams are all that is left. This then leads into the final minute of the track which is a combination of crashing drums and choppy guitars. As I listened I couldn’t help but hear a resemblance to the unreleased Foals track Stay Away.

So that’s it, Ben Howard is back. For the most part it’s just a continuation of the Burgh Island EP with an added outro. Hopefully Ben Howard will do more stuff like the end of this track as it worked really well and added a new lease of life to his music.

 

Liam Egan 

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‘JAWS – Swim’ Track Review

With their long awaited debut album finally approaching its release date, JAWS have given us another slice of what we’ll get to hear when the 15th of September rolls round. This time we are treated to a track called Swim and it’s everything you’ve come to expect from JAWS.

The intro calls back to the early days of JAWS with a synth induced melody that is heavenly to listen to. Fans of JAWS’ track Toucan Surf will love this new addition to JAWS’ catalogue. From there we hear the trademark reverb vocals from frontman Connor Schofield as he sings ” and in my dreams I swim away with you”. The guitars jangle and twang away to help create the perfect track for the summer, even though that’s said about every JAWS track… Just before the final chorus, Connor lets outs an ‘ahh’ and everything descends in a spiral of reverb, synths and phosphorescent guitars. For the last 40 seconds of Swim you are in a stasis of absolute bliss.

Once again JAWS have produced a brilliant track that doesn’t just feel fresh but also pays tribute to JAWS’ earlier work. I can’t wait for their record to come out in September because, from what we’ve heard already, it’s going to be special and worth the wait.

Liam Egan