Ben Howard returns with his fourth album, Collections From The Whiteout, out now through Island Records, including latest single ‘Sorry Kid’.
Produced alongside Aaron Dessner (The National, Sharon Van Etten, Taylor Swift), Collections From The Whiteout heralds the first time Ben has opened the door to production outside of the closer confines on him and his band. The album’s release was preceded by the single ‘What A Day’, released in January alongside an accompanying video.
The foreboding darkness that coated Ben’s second record I Forget Where We Were and thinly veiled its follow up Noonday Dream, isn’t so evident on Collections. These are songs written from headlines scanned, or news stories scrolled past. Ben has taken those snippets and let his curiosity take control, creating an aural scrapbook that reverberates with tape loops and guitar FXs.
Listen to ‘Sorry Kid’ by Ben Howard on the Official Premier League Music playlist on Spotify.
Those stories sifted from the news provided inspiration for a selection of vivid narrative snapshots, including Russian fraudster Anna Sorokin (‘Sorry Kid’); the man who stole and crashed a plane in Seattle (‘The Strange Last Flight Of Richard Russell’); and the dismembered body a friend of his father found in a suitcase floating along the Thames (‘Finders Keepers’).
An England puffed up into absurdity by political outrage and infighting all fed these songs. Alongside them, the personal anecdotes from the same scattered period living between Paris, Devon and finally Spain.
There are sounds akin to Brian Eno, Durutti Column and Steve Reich in there, but also Neil Young and Townes Van Zandt. It’s a million miles away from Ben’s multi-platinum selling debut, but a path plotted from Ben’s then to his now isn’t so far removed.
It’s a substantial record; a sonic adventure that continues this nagging suggestion that Ben Howard is one of the UK’s most inventive and naturally talented of songwriters. Collections From The Whiteout is his latest opus, and arguably his most fully realised to date.