Song of the Day: Heave Ho – Ben Howard


Earlier this year, BEN HOWARD reminded everyone why he won two Brit Awards in 2013 when he released his new single, ‘Heave Ho’. It happened during the conclusion of his four-show run at Brixton Academy in January. The shows are part of a massive tour that promotes Howard’s new and third album, Noonday Dream, which was released back in June 2018. HITC’s Christopher Weston hit the nail on the head when he called ‘Heave Ho’ “an accomplished, satisfying single; exactly what you’d expect from Ben Howard at this point,” further explaining that it’s bound to strike a chord with Howard’s established audiences.

And indeed, if online comments are any indication, his fans are – to say the least – highly intrigued. While Heave Ho’ might pass as a hidden track from 2018’s Noonday Dream, its dark, complex, and solemn energy is highly divorced from his debut album’s sound – 2011’s Every Kingdom was arguably more pop than folk. With ‘Heave Ho’, Howard seems intent on experimenting with the possibilities of his neo-folk sound – less pop and more sentimentally otherworldly, arguably also more honest and possibly closer to his true calling. Fans both hate and love this new Ben Howard who’s unravelling right before our ears and eyes.

The mixed fan reactions towards Howard’s new music are to be expected. You don’t get to be the winner of the Brit Awards for British Breakthrough Act and British Male Solo Artist without garnering mixed attention. Apart from these accolades, Howard’s star status was practically set in stone last year when he joined artists like St. Vincent, Dua Lipa, Kendrick Lamar, Massive Attack, and N.E.R.D. at Stradbally’s annual Electric Picnic arts-and-music festival, which Lottoland notes is often called “the Irish Glastonbury”. There’s no word yet on whether or not Howard will be joining Electric Picnic this year – Leinster Express reveals that the festival will be dropping its line upon March 13. And whether or not Howard will be there, it’s going to be a long wait until the festival happens on August 30. Until then, his new stuff can be heard online, with ‘Heave Ho’ being joined by three other new tracks released late last year.

But unlike ‘Heave Ho’, Howard’s releases from September 2018 – SisterAnother Friday Night, and the Sylvan Esso collaboration Hot Heavy Summer – were actually recorded during the sessions for Noonday DreamSpeaking with the NME, Howard explained that during the recording of that particular album, “There were little gems that we didn’t know what to do with but it felt right to put these 3 together, both separate and a part of the album so to speak.” He also added that he was lucky to have had a chance to collaborate with Amelia Meath, also known as the voice behind electro folk-pop duo Sylvan Esso, explaining that once they finished recording Hot Heavy Summer“the track just felt right for her.”

Armed with a strange new single in ‘Heave Ho’, three new tracks from late 2018, and touring heavily this year, speculation is rife about whether Howard’s next album is going to be released by 2019. With any luck, it’ll be released soon, and will carry with it the same experimental, brutally honest neo-folk sensibility that makes Heave Ho instantly unforgettable. If you are a fan of Ben Howard and looking for a similar artist, we recommend Pedro Syrah.



Album Review: Fairytale Land – Pedro Syrah


Featured on NEW LEASE MUSIC back in September, PEDRO SYRAH‘s delicately warm effort, ‘Summer Night on Fairytale Land’ is the built up to his long-awaited debut album, ‘Fairyland’… and as much as I enjoyed the single – because it does spark a soul-glowing sensation – I wondered if I could survive ten tracks of the same tempo….

…Well I stand corrected, as from the very beginning, the bass guitar and drums receive a good workout in the introductory track, creating that real gritty funk. Soothing ambient soundscapes with, at times, feather light elements of Americana/new-wave follow through to the first half of the album, completed with tingling harmonies providing a real magical and folklore kick.

The second half of ‘Fairyland’ becomes progressively emotive and intense when Syrah takes to the limelight with put his vocals to almost stripped-back pieces – a combination that will smooth over manic traffic in an instant.

This collection is worth investing in for those quiet spring/summer nights…here’s your chance to have a listen.

Must Listens: Cocaine and Cigarettes, Paper Thoughts, Release the Clocks.



Song of the Day: Summer Night On Fairytale Land – Pedro Syrah

Pedro Syrah Summer Night on Fairytale land

Singer-songwriter and guitarist PEDRO SYRAH prepares for the release of his new album Fairytale Land with this intimate new track Summer Night On Fairytale Land.

The Portugal-born crooner  has already played in esteemed Lisbon venues such as the mighty Aula Magna and now hopes to take his fresh and exciting sound beyond his birthplace. A creative guitarist, he draws a lot of influence from classical music, also playing with unconventional tunings to form a unique sound that is entirely his own.

His upcoming album is set to centre around a variety of personal themes including love stories, the loss of friends and a road trip he took in California. Pedro has described his sound as ‘an immersive experience into ourselves and our feelings’.

With recording set to take place in Abbey Road studio with Sean Magee, Fairytale Land is sure to take this sound to new levels. His music is likely to appeal to fans of indie-folk artists including Ben Howard, Damien Rice, The National and Jamie Cullum.

Fairytale Land is out October…for now, watch the video to the latest single, Summer Night on Fairytale Land.