Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Keaton Henson - Birthdays [2013]

So, soup died on us a month or so ago. And then it rose from the dead, forgetting everything up to spring 2015. All you 2016 haters, see what you’ve done. The good thing, however, is discovering once again the things we loved back then. And as I stumbled on Keaton Henson’s quote, I felt the same astonishment I felt two years ago. Not only is he pretty in his sadness, he’s also (quite) good with words.

The words that initially caught my attention were:
If you must fight
Fight with yourself and your thought in the night
If you must work
Work to leave some part of you on this earth
If you live darling one
Just live

Cliche, I guess, just like lost and unfulfilled loves that are the main subject of Henson Birthdays’ songs. The album offers some musical diversity, toying with heavier and more aggressive sounds in Kronos (I'd give you all I have / If I could get it back) and cannibalistically optimistic Milk Teeth (One day you'll drink from my bones), but it’s mostly simple and ethereally ascetic, serving merely as background to Henson’s trembling voice and the words of his poetry.

To me, it’s Norwegian mornings in my memory, brisky, but dreamy, cold, but with a warm edge, simple but rich in meaning. Smiling when sarcastic and sad, but melancholic when expressing happiness. I fell in love with looping You, respected Lying to You, nodded “just like me” in Beekeeper (Tact from me is like blood from a stone - but well, I’m working on it) and screamed “preach it” in If I Don’t Have To.

It’s not the kind of music that will sweep you of your feet with its complexity. But if you feel like enjoying something which is simple, but not cheap, try it.