Ben Howard has announced his new album ‘Is It?‘ alongside the release of the lead single ‘Couldn’t Make It Up‘. Listen to the single below. The album is set to release on June 16 via Island, marking the fifth full-length LP from the English singer-songwriter and following his 2021 release ‘Collections From The Whiteout‘.
According to the indie rocker, the ten-track album was recorded over a ten-day period at the Le Manoir de Léon studios in the south of France. It delves into his experiences after suffering 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 stroke occurred in March 2022, when Howard, then aged 35, was sitting in his garden and found himself unable to think clearly, form sentences, or speak for nearly an hour. The second stroke happened a month later.
Over the following months, Howard underwent several hospital tests, but all yielded inconclusive results. “It was out of the blue,” he said. “It was a confusing time.”
In celebration of the upcoming LP’s announcement, the Ivor Novello Award-winning songwriter has shared the lead single, ‘Couldn’t Make It Up‘. Listen to the single below and pre-order the album here. In addition to announcing the forthcoming LP and new track, Ben Howard is set to embark on a series of UK and European shows starting next month.
The tour will kick off with a performance in Madrid on May 18 and will include gigs in cities such as 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. In a three-star review of his last album, ‘Collections From The Whiteout‘, NME praised Howard for his increasingly “atmospheric” and “textured sonic palette,” yet questioned the multitude of directions the album attempted 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,” the review read. “It’s sometimes satisfying and cathartic to dig through the rubble and find a diamond; sometimes too chaotic to try.”