The English singer-songwriter, Ben Howard returned and published his new single “Crowhurst’s Meme” on the 2nd of February. This track is a little introduction, a prologue that was perhaps intended to show what we might expect from the artist’s next album, Collections from the Whiteout.
This single has got the elements of indie-folk which are sort of the marks of Howard’s music, though alternative rock also dominates its sonic identity. Furthermore, in terms of sound, the single has a psychedelic mood as well, similar to the atmosphere that Howard’s album Noonday Dream (2018), had.
The lyrics is kept vague, so you do not get much information about the story that is behind the music; however, if you are interested in getting to know more about its narrative, I would recommend you reading the mysterious, but tragic story of Donald Crowhurst, the businessman, and inexperienced sailor who entered the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race round-the-world sailing competition in 1968 to win the first place that might have helped him getting out the financial hardships he had faced at the time after a failing business.
When his ship started to take on water and realised he would not be able to complete the competition, began giving false information of his whereabouts while secretly abandoning the race, Crowhurst tragically died after 243 days at sea.
Though his tragic but heroic odyssey had an influence on following generations even 50 years after his death, documentaries and films were made to tell Crowhurst’s story, one of them is Mercy (2017), starring Colin Firth. Even if Howard’s lyrics are vague in this single, therefore, I cannot state for sure that the artist meant to speak of that particular historical event; still, if you read about Donald Crowhurst’s adventure, you might see parallels between them.
I have already mentioned in what genres this track could operate, and in terms of sound, it indeed has a psychedelic tone, though I also wish to speak of its instrumentation. Ben Howard has always had a certain earthy sound, based on acoustic instruments, the elements of electronic music were not at present in his songs.
“Crowhurst’s Meme” appears to be an exception, its drums definitely have electronic vibes, it kind of reminded me of the songs by Atoms For Peace, and I think it is great, since it shows me that Ben Howard does not have such intentions as repeating himself artistically. A new record is a new step forward.
It also represents professionalism because in terms of sonic attributions, it contains a totally new side of Howard, though if you prefer his early records you could still find some things for yourself within, because the sonic transition, so to speak, is done smoothly. Therefore it does not create a huge contrast compared to the artist’s previous records. In addition, the song’s structure also works pretty well, it keeps the listener’s attention, but it is not too long to become monotone either.
In my opinion, after two years, Ben Howard made a nice and smooth comeback with class by releasing this new single that gives us clear hints what to expect from the singer-songwriter’s new album, Collections from the Whiteout, which will be released next month, at the end of March, 2021.
I also wish to mention that the timing of dropping these new records is impeccable, due to Covid-19, people have been stuck at home for nearly a year now without having the shot to check out live gigs and live their social lives actively. I think Ben Howard’s new album will give people more comfort and spiritually, more strength to endure the difficulties of these times. While listening to his beautiful melodies, probably we will be able to look forward to the months with more positivity and hope.
Rating of the Single: 4,5 / 5