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Keaton Henson - 'Kindly Now'

by KnarBedian
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on 04 November 2016 in Albums & EPs
Record Label PIAS
Rating 9/10


On Kindly Now, Keaton Henson drags listeners into a dark closet to play a selection of intimate songs. It’s dark because Kindly Now is as heartbreaking as his previous work, and it’s a closet, because closets are a place for quietly storing and hiding things. Mostly, we hide objects from the past, but as a kid, sometimes we hide ourselves. We hear as Henson shuffles in on 'March', and tugs at the old coats and jackets that are hanging inside, shaking off dust and the memories that came with them. The thread of failed relationships begins with 'Alright'; he sings about “hiding behind curtains” and staying inside for hours. The ex-lover returns throughout the record – 'The Pugilist' has Henson repeatedly pleading, “don’t forget me, don’t forget me” as a crescendo of wild strings and drumming build behind him. 'No Witnesses' is lines like, “So I’ll leave matches in our hotel room, I hope to burn away the sight of you” set against a soft piano arrangement. Henson’s intentional inclusion of background noises make his whispered secrets of loss feel all the more delicate and intimate. The random clicks and fuzzy textures of 'Old Lovers in Dressing Rooms' and the rhythmical breathing on 'Good Lust' cause the listener to feel like an intruder, accidentally walking into moments in the lives of others. 'Holy Lover' is a standout, its repetitive vocal layering of such a straightforward and simple line – “I think I love you / baby, please don’t be afraid of me” – has Henson plainly expressing the feeling of uncertainty that comes with new love, a sentiment echoed and reinforced by the chorus too voices that join him.


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