It’s eerily coincidental that Ben Howard announced the UK release of The Burgh Island E.P. in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction and the day before Halloween. His announcement itself was obviously not creepy (and actually very exciting for this fangirl), but the album features ominous cover art and a stormy single “Esmerelda,” making the news certainly timely.
Music is an audio diary for musicians, and The Burgh Island is no different. According to an e-newsletter Howard sent yesterday, “it’s a pretty hard listen at some points but a huge relief to get some more songs down and out of my head. Onto permanent paper.” These four songs are loaded with brooding and rippling guitar chords and Howard trades cheerful tracks from his full-length album like “Old Pine” and “Keep Your Head Up” for intense drum cadences and guitar swells. “Oats in the Water” is my personal favorite, for it starts slow and bursts with energy midway through; Howard’s strengths exemplified . This EP is a wonderful fusion of music and nature (clearly a common theme amongst folksters…or at least the ones I’m writing about here). The Burgh Island is peace within personal turmoil and destruction, and a calm during the storm.