Kevin Howell Album ‘Haunting Ambition’ Review

Kevin Howell is a singer/songwriter from Glasgow who performs both solo and with his band which is made up of Kev Howell on Guitar/Vocals, James Kingsley on Bass/Backing Vocals and Andy Merchant on Drums/Percussion. If you want to find out a little more about Kev Howell then check out this Interview I did with him, other than that enjoy my review of his debut album which came out on 4th August 2017.

‘Distance’ opens with a gentle acoustic guitar, that’s joined by some nice percussion and finally Kev Howell comes in, his voice a powerful and resonate addition to the track. This is a slow track, but it doesn’t drag its heels, it just kind of lets you experience it.

‘Kamikaze’ is different from the last track, more energy, a little heavier with electric guitars replacing the acoustic variety and this track certainly has a haunting quality about it, it’s amazing how Howell manages to balance the sweet melancholy of his voice so well. It just works and the result is a smashing track like this.

‘Black Tooth’ again shakes things up, slower initially than the last track, with sweeping notes that reverberate, backed up by more vocals that really hammer home his talent as a singer. What I especially liked about this track though was this consistent note that reminded me of something old like an organ or a harpsichord, it just added something to the track overall.

‘Ode To An Angel’ has another nice acoustic guitar intro, and this track is incredibly soothing, I listened to it while going through a bit of a hard time and It really helped me. You don’t even need to resonate with the story told in the song particularly its just all around soothing like a nice blanket and a cup of tea. If I could just recommend only one track on this album it would be this one.

‘Lonely Operator’ has a nice percussive intro, that remains pretty consistent, as more instruments and music are layered on top, its a nice little set up. Kevin joins in around the 30 second mark and adds his distinct voice to the mix. All in all a nice easy going track that again tells a story well.

‘Nightbird’ changes things up a bit, another percussive intro but this has more edge to it, more challenge and it just has a different tone and energy compared to the rest of the tracks in the album I’ve reviewed so far. I liked it though, changing things up going into the last half of the album was a smart choice, and it really shows off a different side to his music and what he can do.

‘Grave Lament’ is again a little different, back to a slower pace but I wouldn’t immediately connect the first few tracks with this one, not that it doesn’t fit but it’s a certain different at least. I liked ‘Grave Lament’ this is one particular track where even though it’s short it leaves an impression.

‘Railroad Waltz’ is probably one of my favourites on the album, I like the energy and the melody and its heavy in everything I’ve already said I like about Kevin Howell as a musician. In particular I like the lyrics in this track, I don’t tend to comment on lyrics specifically in my reviews but just listen to the track yourself and enjoy them for yourself.

‘Snipers Blues’ is the last track on the album, and again it’s very different, electric guitars and while the others had a softer quality about them this one feels like it’s more of a challenge it’s not just meant to be passively listened to it requires something more and I think it really does itself justice as the last track on the album.

So that’s what I thought of Kevin Howell’s debut album ‘Haunting Ambition’ which you can check out on Spotify. And if you want to keep up to date with him then follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

 

First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org

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