The million-selling, Mercury-nominated Totnes singer-songwriter Ben Howard’s second album, produced like its predecessor Every Kingdom by drummer/bassist/factotum Chris Bond, hangs together well, his David Gray/Damien Rice-like vocals resting on a bed of skittering drums, crafty guitar and fedback chords. Individual tracks take their time to get going (only one song here comes in under four minutes) and numbers such as opener Small Things break after two or three minutes to build back up from a pleasant plod to a sustained fug of sound. The title track is a winner but it’s with In Dreams, and its fast folky picking, that the record really takes off. I like the weird atmospherics of Time Is Dancing and the close-miked drums of All Is Now Harmed; the near eight-minute End of the Affair aims to give John Martyn’s Rather Be the Devil a run for its money.
Molloy Woodcraft is a subeditor for the Guardian