The success of Jack Johnson and (non-surfing but Cornwall-affiliated) Newton Faulkner has created an inviting niche for beach-bum strummers. Ben Howard, 24, is more earnest and a touch artier than most. His acoustic style recalls Faulkner but his preoccupations are anxiety and faltering relationships, and his wistful croon is closer to Devendra Banhart and Ray LaMontagne. The results are too easy on the ear to be convincing – more getting deep round the campfire than genuine soul-baring – but highlights "Black Flies" and "Promise" are nice enough studies in soft-focus angst.

Contributor

Ally Carnwath

The GuardianTramp

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