Ben Howard possesses one of those voices that instantly draws you in; gruff, yet silky smooth at the same time, the Cornwall native has a set of pipes that would make swearing in German sound endearing.

Ben’s voice is far from the only appeal on his latest release, the Old Pine EP, where he shows himself to be a technically gifted musician and an extremely talented songwriter, with a heap of variance and scope in his material.

The EP’s title track summates the previous two paragraphs in four minutes of gorgeous acoustic fare, as the wandering picked guitar work leads into a melting harmonised chorus, before kicking on in style.

The intricate folk-style fret work continues during ‘Further Away’, where the contemplative lyrics are wrapped in the warm embrace of India Bourne’s backing in the chorus, and ‘Follaton Wood’ possesses a skipping beat and steel guitar accompaniment to Ben’s lingering tone.

There is very little backing to the songs on the EP - vocals and acoustic being the mainstay - and the timely addition of strings, double bass, and drums are all that are needed to make this a full-bodied affecting release.

Final track ‘Three Tree Town’ is just Ben and his six-string, and it closes the EP with the resonating vocal quality shining through.

The Old Pine EP is being released on Communion Records, but it’s no surprise that Island Records have picked up the rights to the forthcoming debut album. Ben Howard deserves to be massive, and with this quite brilliant release he is well on his way.

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