It used to be quite a rarity for a major label artist to follow up a debut album with an EP, and it would be an even more surprising feat for an artist who sells out tours across Europe and was a strong contender for this year’s Mercury Prize. Nevertheless, Cornwall’s Ben Howard has done just that. Enter ‘The Burgh Island EP’.
Named after a small tidal island off the coast of South Devon, the EP echoes the earthy, vibrant quality of all Howard’s music, showcasing a truly beautiful style that is sure to be enduring for many years and records to come.
Beginning with the enormously atmospheric Esmerelda, Howard builds sonic and lyrical stories just as powerfully as on his debut. Howard’s music conjures images of vast landscapes along the English coast, and with an altogether darker feel; where ‘Every Kingdom’ celebrated the warmth and brightness of summertime, the Burgh Island EP seems to capture a short series of rainy, sad days.
Echoing the powerful, heartfelt lyric “And if I was ever to leave I’d say before I go that you’re the best woman I’ve ever known” throughout, title track Burgh Island is the stand out song on this release – and what a stand out track it is. Long time live favourite Oats in the Water also gets an airing on this EP, and the recorded version translates remarkably well, making it a real highlight.
Howard is still a phenomenal storyteller, an accomplished musician and an incredibly noteworthy name as we enter 2013. Surely even bigger things are afoot for this gent over the next year.