Over the years, the singer-songwriter platform has become a very boiled down experience. A solo artist with a guitar or piano has become by far one of the more generic sounds in recent memory, and in a lot of cases seems stuck in the idea that simply presenting yourself as a minimal entity is enough to be taken seriously. And while Ben Howard's previous material may have fitted into this description, his return sees him adopt a far more atmospheric direction, showing that he has evolved into something new for his third album.
From the start, 'Noonday Dream' pitches itself as an almost new-age sounding release. With its mood-driven production and the occasionally panpipes, the album sees the frontman step away from his comfort zone in order to deliver something with a far more diverse disposition. While some parts of this new material do call back to the traditional Ben Howard sound, much of the release is devoted to experimenting and divulging into something a little different, making this a far more engaging listen than we would have expected.
It seems to us that Ben Howard is just as fed up with the wishy-washy pretence of the singer-songwriter as we are, which seems to have led to this new path. 'Noonday Dream' radiates confidence in its ability to interest and captivate, and while it has the odd slump here and there, the bulk of this return sees the frontman in a whole new light.