Ben Howard returns with his eagerly anticipated and critically acclaimed third album Noonday Dream. As mystifying as its title, Howard’s third album is even more dreamy, raw and haunting than his previous offerings. It is here with his raspy vocals and use of minimal instrumentation that Howard casts a mystifying dreamy spell on us. Noonday Dream is experimentative, trance worthy and devouringly satisfying.
Noonday Dream’s opening track ‘Nica Libres at Dusk’ begins with a simple chord strum among Howard’s own vocal power. As if one is falling into a long sleep, NLAD sets our ears in tune to Howards hauntingly precise vocals. With its smooth undertone and relaxed anecdotal effect, Howard gives us a one remedy cure that we have all been waiting for.
Throughout the album, we are shown Howard’s own vocal capabilities and his interest in nature, relationships, life and enlightenment through each track. Noonday Dream certainly marks Howard’s triumphant return to the music scene after a few years.
On his most personal song yet titled ‘Someone in the Doorway’ Howard sings:
“They say you don’t come back from that
Into the light of a bad dream
Into the laughter of a war
England a sedative on my tongue”.
It is really here that we see Howard in his most vulnerable state yet. As he shows us his own demons and lets us into his own soul. It’s raw, vulnerable and un-nerving.
This is a well conceived and developed album. It is beautifully vocal and self-professed from an artist with inner star power who has a lot to give at every turn.
Howard’s Noonday Dream is available now via Island Records.