Our Take: A Review of Ben Howard’s New Single “End of the Affair”

Our Rating

Stifled screams and immense instrumental interludes seldom show up in the work of a singer-songwriter. Which is why it is all the more notable when they do. Howard’s newest track, “End of the Affair,” our first little hint into his upcoming album, reveal a turbulent side to Ben Howard‘s wide, watery world. Indeed, melancholia has its angry side.

With his muffled vocals, his soft, acoustic guitar, and scattered textural rhythms, Howard has always maintained a distinctive, ghostly charm. And we can’t seem to get enough of it. Tracks like “To Be Alone” feel just as haunting as they do arresting as we find ourselves lulled into his lush, ocean of sound.

Howard’s new track “End of the Affair” is an incredible, eight-minute journey. It begins with a softly-picked, dream-like acoustic guitar, gentle like the muffled vocals soon to follow. His words, “The end of the affair / The weight of the world” seem to contain subdued, melancholic rage. But not until five minutes in do we hear that rage. The music wakes up and we hear Ben Howard’s screams of “This is it” and “What the hell,” drowned by strewn harmonies and winding rhythms.

Details of the album will be announced soon, but Ben Howard has already admitted that it will favor longer, more experimental songs.

Listen to the single below:

The Breakdown