From the bustling city of London comes a multi-talented man by the name of Keaton Henson. As well as music, Henson also indulges in poetry and visual art, even designing album artwork for bands such as Enter Shikari and Dananananaykroyd. He is renowned for suffering from serious stage fright and could be described as a recluse, so it is no surprise that his first album, ‘Dear…’ is the soundtrack of a man lost, lonely and depressed.
The enigma that Henson creates helps to produce a truly compelling listen in ‘Dear…’ The 25 year-old’s breakthrough came when his single ‘You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are’ received national attention through DJ Zane Lowe, when he played the track on BBC Radio 1, and it’s not hard to see why the song received much praise and recognition. With its hypnotic guitar work and melancholy lyrics, the song perfectly encapsulates the essence of ‘Dear…’
Lyrically, Henson seems to take a lot of inspiration from Irish folk musician Damien Rice, while musically, the fiddly and folk-like guitars often draw comparisons with Iron & Wine. Much like these artists, the real talent that Henson seems to have is being able to captivate the listener with just a guitar and his delicate-style of vocals. However, some people may see this as Henson’s downfall; it could be said that these components alone are not enough to hold the listener’s attention for the full thirty-five minutes of ‘Dear…’
There is no denying Henson’s talent, however, and what this album really excels at is creating a smooth and easy listen while not slipping to the sub-standard clichés commonly found in today’s music scene. As mentioned before, Henson’s vocals are a real highlight, and manage to sound extremely fragile and emotional, yet soothing at the same time. This, coupled with the often-complex and technical guitar work ensures that ‘Dear…’ is an album not to be missed, and really conforms to the image that Henson has managed to create through his lack of live performances and generally enigmatic nature. All in all, ‘Dear…’ is a fantastic record which deserves far more attention, although does not receive it possibly for the sake of the artist involved.