Keaton Henson’s press has made a big deal about his anxiety and lack of confidence – yet on listening to this, his debut album, I’m more worried about his sanity. How many times can he sit and play through a set of songs so lovelorn, heartfelt and, unfortunately, achingly dull.
Bypassing the clichéd lyrics, that include “teach me how to hold you in my arms”, opener Teach me is almost engaging. The glistening electric guitar gently picks each individual string as Henson pours his emotion, and indeed his emotive vocal tone, into every line. But as the songs fades and the next begins you’re hit with the realisation that this is one of those singer/songwriter records that aches with heavy introspection and over-played melancholy. So what did Henson do with his impressive line up of guests (that include Band of Horses Tyler Ramsey and Sune Rose Wagner from The Raveonettes)? One can only assume Kronos is their attempt to kick some life into the record – it is, after all, a pounding rock song of horrendous proportions.
Henson has talent – there are faint melodies entwined within the emotionally melodramatic manner that so many singer/songwriters feel they need to employ – but this record is not the way to open your account.