Keaton Henson - Dear...

by Cecily Mumby Rating:9.5 Release Date:2012-04-01

They say that the city is a lonely place to be; full of people but void of relationships and interaction. With this in mind, it's not surprising that London is home to the creator of Dear..., a haunting album which has captured the sound of isolation.

Keaton Henson created this sound, working alone, producing his music and art in his room, intending for no one else to experience his work. On listening to the album, it seems obvious why he didn't intend his music for public listening: Some of the tracks make blatant references to his own past: painful relationships and deep personal emotions. At times it is so personal that it could be slightly uncomfortable to listen to, but the pain, self-pity, bitterness and remorse he expresses is relatable, and universal. Pretty much anyone who has had a relationship go sour will be able to relate to the sentiment of Dear… .

So, it obviously isn't a cheery, upbeat album. There are only two tracks which give a glimmer of hope for relationships: 'Sarah Minor' and 'Not That You'd Even Notice', which in the final minute changes from self-deprecation to bitterness and longing for the former lover who rejected Henson to be "dropped to her knees", begging "please don't leave me". The concluding chant of "We'd be even then, don't you agree" makes it clear this track isn't about hope of repatching damaged relationships, it's about wanting to get revenge on lovers of the past.

It is however, beautifully crafted. The melodies are relaxed and delicate. If you ignored the lyrics and just listened to the tune, you might think this album was beautifully placid and calm from the natural acoustic guitars and the gentle tones of Henson's voice. It isn't until we listen closely, and pay attention to the lyrics, that we realise these lyrical melodies contain venom and tortured emotions. Maybe this reflected the city environment the album was created in, where people put up a front to hide the troubles in their own life's.

The intensity and uniqueness of Dear… is amazing. Keaton Henson is a true artist who has created an album where every track is emotionally charged and carries a meaning of its own. Yes, it is all about dark emotions and misery, but it displays these negative feelings in a beautiful, honest way. It uses snapshots from Henson's life to journey through emotional pain and loneliness. Dear… is all around a great album and needs to be appreciated on a personal level.

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