Ben Howard has announced new album ‘Is It?’ with the launch of the lead single ‘Couldn’t Make It Up’. Check out the single below.
Set for release on June 16 via Island, the album will mark the fifth full-length LP from the English singer-songwriter, and follows his 2021 release ‘Collections From The Whiteout’.
According to the indie rocker, the ten-track album was recorded over the span of ten days in the Le Manoir de Léon studios, located in the south of France, and explores his time after experiencing two mini-strokes (TIAs).
“I found it impossible not to dwell on the absurdity of it, that with one tiny clot, one can lose all faculties. It really ate into the writing of the record,” he said. The first of the two strokes occurred in March 2022, when Howard – aged 35 –was sitting in his garden and found himself unable to think clearly, form sentences or speak for nearly an hour. The second, he explained, occurred a month later.
Over the following months, Howard underwent a series of hospital tests, although each came back with inconclusive results. “It was out of the blue,” he said. “It was a confusing time.”
To mark the announcement of the upcoming LP, the Ivor Novello Award-winning songwriter has shared the lead single, ‘Couldn’t Make It Up’. Check out the single below and pre-order the album here.
Alongside announcing the forthcoming LP and new track, Ben Howard is also set to embark on a series of UK and European shows which will off next month.
The dates will start with a performance in Madrid on May 18, and will also feature gigs in cities including Lisbon, Barcelona, Bordeaux and Vienna. A series of UK dates are also scheduled – including a sold-out show at London’s Alexandra Palace Park on July 22.
A newly announced date at Royal Albert Hall on June 1 has also been added, and tickets will go on sale on April 28 at 10am BST. Find tickets here.
In a three-star review of his last album, ‘Collections From The Whiteout’, NME praised Howard for his increasingly “atmospheric” and “textured sonic palette”, however, questioned the drastic number of avenues that the album tried to explore.
“Howard’s expansion, both in terms of production and the stories he wishes to tell, creates a cacophonous record with complex, sometimes muddy instrumentation and stark melodies,” it read. “It’s sometimes satisfying and cathartic to dig through the rubble and find a diamond; sometimes too chaotic to try.”