Ben Howard's debut album Every Kingdom placed at #11 in my 2012 year end list so I was anxious to hear his second full length release when it came out in October. I was pleasantly surprised at the artistic growth on display throughout I Forget Where We Were as Howard improved on his debut by leaps and bounds. And remember, that was still one of my favorite albums of 2012. That's how impressive the follow-up is.
Every Kingdom was essentially a pleasant folk/pop album, strong melodically and lyrically. I Forget Where We Were still falls under the folk umbrella, but there is a much more experimental direction in the music and a darkness that was absent on the first. "Has the world gone mad or is it me?", Howard asks on the brilliant "Small Things", a somber opening to the album. "Rivers In Your Mouth" brings more of a rock element to Howard's folk sound than was evident on his debut. The title track joins "Evergreen" and "Conrad" in the list of stand-out ballads contained here. "End Of The Affair" steals the show, a gorgeously heart breaking ballad for nearly five minutes before it changes course with Howard shouting in the background over beats and guitar work. It's a striking change of course on the album's longest song and the best example of Howard's musical evolution on this triumph of a sophomore album.
Favorite tracks: "Small Things", "End of The Affair", "Rivers In Your Mouth", "Evergreen"
I Forget Where We Were was released October 21, 2014 via Republic/Universal Records.