KEATON HENSON – ” Monument “

Posted: January 11, 2021 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , ,

The porcelain figurine on the cover of this album tells you enough: if you want to smile, you better not do it with this music in your ears. We don’t expect anything else from Keaton Henson. This troubled musician always brings us convulsive emotions into his compositions, but oh, he always does that more than well. He agrees in opener “Ambulance”, where he sighs: ‘I’m empty but don’t it sound so good?’ “Monument” released through Play It Again Sam is Keaton’s first album since 2016’s Kindly Now. Keaton Henson’s new album “Monument” is a rare thing. It is an album about loss, and dealing with losing the ones we love, but told, in incredibly candid detail, through the aspects of our lives that surround the trauma itself, about love, ageing, recovery, life, seen through the prism of grief.

With the posting of an enigmatic and cryptic goodbye in 2016; Epilogue, Henson’s next project ended up becoming Six Lethargies, a complex and ambitious symphony for string orchestra, dealing with the minutiae of mental illness. He put away the guitar and retreated to his home for three years to compose it. Monument now finds Keaton re-emerging with an album of songs about grief, and how it permeates our lives. The record began when, having recovered from both Six Lethargies and the circumstances that inspired it, Henson moved from London to the wilds of the English countryside, spending long days outside chopping wood, tending to the grounds, and watching birds of prey soaring above. It was from this remote outpost that he finally felt ready to look at a subject he had been avoiding for his entire song writing career; the decades long illness, and imminent death of his father, who passed two days before he finished recording the album.

While the singer normally opens up about heartache or fear of people in his lyrics, Monument has a possible even more personal theme: the death of his increasingly ill father. This is most strongly confirmed in “The Grand Old Reason”, where he writes some of his most heart breaking sentences: ‘But like you / I have tried for so long not to cry / That I don’t even know if I can when you die’. Yet we gasp most when, after “Prayer,” an excerpt from an old home video is heard saying Keaton’s father “Keaton, wave to daddy.” This spirited, delicate folk hits a whole new set of strings, with Henson only expanding his emotional empire even more.

Monument” released through Play It Again Sam Records,

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