With every male singer songwriter there will follow a batch of comparisons to be drawn against the many others that have come before them, their sounds often lending to their predecessors in sometimes subtle, often not so subtle, ways. With Ben Howard, the borrowing of influence seems to lie in the folk pioneers of Tim Buckley and Nick Drake alongside the modern day faces of the genre, with Mumford & Sons and Damien Rice coming to mind.

Signed to Island Records, whose artists have included 70’s folk singers Drake and John Martyn, Howard is obviously a man under the influence of these musicians. It is not to his detriment though as they have provided him with an obvious knack for creating warm and heartfelt songs. Howard works a gentle intricacy into the background of his songs, steering clear of balladeering, showing ability in creating tracks with real rhythmic prowess whilst maintaining an often simple melody against his rasping vocals. Many songs across the album give to an air of an even tempered lyricist and vocalist who tends to keep his music tinged with a sincerity and tenderness, ‘Black Flies’ a prime example of Howard’s talent for creating the kind of music that feels filled with emotion and sensitivity.

At times Every Kingdom feels like it is about to lift off into a raucous chorus echoing that of Mumford & Sons but Howard keeps things, especially on the pacey ‘The Wolves’, from escalating too far into any banjo filled crescendo, instead continuing to opt for a softness, backed more than ably by his cellist India Bourne.

For those of you who like your folk music with a little more spark and liveliness you may well find yourself waiting for those crescendos to kick in and bring the album up to some kind of barnstorming pace but it never materialises. Every Kingdom is consistently tender and melodious, full of subtlety and shows an artist who pays homage to his heroes whilst proving to be original and memorable with it.