Howard James Kenny – Shelter Songs

howard james kennyHoward James Kenny‘s debut album ‘Shelter Songs‘ is the culmination of one man being holed away for two years in a cattle barn, such is Kenny’s love for music. The album itself, more of a mini-album at a total of seven tracks (but with many totalling at over seven minutes each), showcases exactly what a person can do when they understand technology. Built from samples and loop pedals to underpin warm guitar melodies and soulful vocals, Kenny has wowed audiences across the world leading many to coin him as a ‘one man Sigur Rós‘, but is he really worth such hype?

Shelter Songs‘ not only is a clear example of such a huge talent technically, it also shows Kenny’s ability to pen good songs. His musical and vocal style has this uncanny ability to somehow be spine chillingly haunting while at the same time, warm and friendly, something that I have yet to actually experience from a musical artist before. While his quickly picked guitar style reminiscent of Nick Drake sounds folky at heart, it is more than often soothingly embraced with the soft whisper of synths and other instruments that I’m sure Kenny has at his disposal, creating a progressive soundtrack feel to it that you’d come to expect from Scandinavian acts, making the basis of the tracks on offer here sound worldly and even childishly innocent.

On the whole, this is a fairly diverse record and I could understand why more mainstream fans wouldn’t like it (to be honest, I wouldn’t like it if I was so bollocked out of my face that I thought that Take That were the best musical act of my life!) but if you appreciate Sigur Rós, Nick Drake, Porcupine Tree (becaue vocally I can hear similarities), The Album Leaf or in fact anything remotely folk, post-rock or ambient-experimental, then this will blow your head back so hard that your neck will become a mouth.

So is Howard James Kenny really worth the hype that he is getting?

Two words: Fuck yes.

[Rating: 4.5]

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.