I'€™ve been trying to write this review for too long. I put on Keaton Henson's album and I stare out of my window. I stare until I'm not focused on anything, but my mind'€™s eye is firmly focused, presenting my past in glorious montage scenes. I've made a list of my all-time worst break ups, all of the elongated fuck ups that scar my miserable history, I've sorted through the situations I should have processed and locked away years ago. I've started all these sentences with 'I'€, and that's the thing with œDear€. It's personal.

There is a certain timeless quality to empathetic understanding. Indescribable weight is leant upon things that you believe to be an extension of your own perception. Keaton Henson has mastered that timeless quality. His voice burrows into your brain and plants seeds. While it’s not a new concept, a guy expressing himself with a guitar and his voice, it feels fresh and inspired in its honesty.

With Dear€ Henson maps every emotion associated to love, longing, and loss. Each song draws a different emotion from your darkest depths, and raises it to your surface, for you to file with hindsight. His reverb drenched acoustic guitar drifts endlessly into the ether in the manner of Benoit Pioulard. Like when it€™s frosty and foggy in the morning and you stare at the skyline wondering whether its silver or grey and where it all ends and where it all begins again, and all of the world is cast in its shimmering ethereal glaze. Every breath of this record is considered and beautiful, the narrative stays true throughout, following its timeline of the healing process. Which describes exactly how I feel about this record, or the place that it has taken in my heart, as part of my own healing process.

At the heart of the record itself is 'Sarah Minor' with its refrain, "In spite of real distance we'll always be close" It's the kind of open letter you wish you could've written yourself, and it provides one of the many heart-achingly beautiful moments on the record. Its telling that only after finding this level of acceptance that Henson allows a beat to emerge, it's a revelation akin to a defibrillator blast on your chest.

Keaton Henson's music quantifies all aspects of the human condition and our struggle with interpersonal relations. It will change your life if you let it. If only because you'€™ll stop what you are doing for all of its 36 minutes and stare into space reflecting on all that you have done, and hopefully, find within yourself a way forward. Once you’ve let this record into your life you'll want to share the experience with anyone who’ll listen, anyone who has enough emotional intelligence to reflect.

So say hello to this year's Bon Iver word of mouth success story. I'€™m not even going to mention that Keaton Henson is a great artist, I'm not. I want you to find these things out yourself. I want you to be compelled to watch the videos of these songs online, to buy the record, to tell all your friends that this exists, to play it loud in the middle of the night instead of thinking in the darkness.

Just know, when you are leaving the pub drunk, facing a lonely night bus ride home to your cold flat without your woman, Keaton Henson has got your back.