EP REVIEW: Keaton Henson – The Lucky

Written for DIY

“Does he know who you are? Does he laugh, just to know what he has? Does he know not to talk about your dad?” It’s not as if we’ve been left wanting for folk-tinged, self-reflective break-up records in the past few years. Between Noah & The Whale’s ‘First Days Of Spring’ and the first Bon Iver album, you might think that you’ve had your fill. Justin Vernon has never been brave enough to write a lyric as opaque as this, however, and Charlie Fink never quite dares to unveil so much intimate detail; it’s this, along with a halting falsetto the former would be envious of, that set Keaton Henson – and his debut album, ‘Dear’ – apart from his tear-stained ilk.

On this EP, which includes the album cut ‘You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are’ and three new songs, Henson goes further with the self-laceration, singing of jumping to his death from the Mary Celeste on the song of the same name. He’s liberal with the his language, too, as with the line “Here’s to you, you miserable fuck” (followed by the mournful “Why did she finally leave?”) on ‘To Your Health’, reclaiming that most devastating of expletives from the tedious tweed maw of Marcus Mumford as he addresses himself in a booze-soaked moment of quiet contemplation / desperation.

‘The Lucky’, as with ‘Dear’, is marked by Henson’s tentative electric guitar playing – warm yet fragile, but somehow more immediate than most of his peers’ music: as many muted strings are struck as successful ones with each considered chord – and his amateur Buckley-like voice. He made his name designing t-shirts and album covers, but Henson’s (broken) heart seems to be more in music. And long may it be so.

8/10

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