Ben Howard Builds Wondrous Tracks In "Noonday Dream"

It's always an experience listening to something incredibly raw. With Ben Howard's new record, it feels like a tour through his life. Ben Howard builds wondrous tracks in Noonday Dream, a spiraling journey with plenty of twists and turns.

The beginning of Noonday Dream pushes you straight into the fray. 'Nica Libres At Dusk' is almost alien, its mysterious textures building up and moving in haunting ways. It's almost like Sufjan Stevens meets Radiohead or A Perfect Circle for one epic, encapsulating track. It's a brilliant opening to the record, and definitely starts the record off on a magical high. Few tracks really match its creativity, though some come close: 'A Boat To An Island On The Wall' seems to draw from Pink Floyd's The Wall, its raw, beaten down production sounding right in place with The Wall's "ordinary man" perspective. 'There's Your Man' haunting reverberates as well, while the atmosphere of 'A Boat To An Island, Pt. 2 / Agatha's Song' is what gives it its ghastly sound.

There's a really raw side to Noonday Dream that contrasts the more drawn out, layered pieces. The album seems to constantly bounce between an internal battle and the outside world. The ambience of the background in 'Towing The Line,' for example, really sets a rundown, isolated scene for the record. More of the tracks do feel like they're exploring that inner world, like the mysterious reverberating 'What The Moon Does,' where Howard somberly chants "I may be floating through memories." Howard has a way of performing the music that really makes it raw and personal, even if there's not a whole lot of complexity within the track.

Ben Howard builds wondrous tracks in Noonday Dream, taking the listener on a trip through his own world, but internally and externally. It feels like the memoir of a lonely, broken traveler that ventures through an unknown land. It's a wandering album, and if you ever find yourself in search of an internal trip, this album may be the one for you.

Favorite Track: Nica Libres At Dusk

Least Favorite Track: Murmurations

Rating: 75 / 100

Stream or buy Noonday Dream on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: