Keaton Henson - Dear

‘Dear’ has a refreshing simplicity and endearing vulnerability.

Label: Oak Ten Records

Rating: 8

There is much that could be said about Keaton Henson, but ‘Dear’ is the debut release from the notoriously stage shy London-based singer / songwriter. After opening with a short instrumental piece consisting of chimes, sampled speech and birds tweeting, the brooding ‘You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are’ throws you headlong into the inner workings of a soul tortured by jealousy. As an ex-girlfriend finds herself in the arms of another, the resounding cry of ’Does his love make your head spin’ rings out with heartbreaking intensity. 
At times it feels like he’s opened up his journals and laid them out for you to discover, warts and all. This is exemplified by the splendid ‘Flesh And Bone’, which sees Keaton at breaking point, cracked of both voice and spirit as he declares ‘My body’s weak, I feel my lungs giving up on me.’ Amidst an overriding cloud of melancholy there are fleeting moments of positivity. ’Sarah Minor’ is a tender song of shared memories, a celebration of love in all its imperfections which cuts across the pervading despair. On ’Not That You’d Even Notice’ he is joined by a gentle chorus of voices but for the most part it’s just that deeply expressive voice and gently finger picked guitar.

These tracks were originally recorded to be shared with friends but are worthy of far wider exposure. ’Dear’ is a record where tales of lost love and rejection ease their way deeper into your consciousness with every repeated listen. It has a refreshing simplicity and endearing vulnerability that will gatecrash your soul and render your skip button impervious.