7 October 2015
Keaton Henson has caused shock waves in the music world once again with his surprise new album Behaving. Behaving constitutes Henson’s first foray into the world of electronic music, and boy does he make one hell of an entrance. Henson’s usual style, the sorrowful crooning of Birthdays and the beautiful classical work that comprised Romantic Works, is as far from electronica as you could imagine.
However, Behaving somehow seamlessly manages to incorporate electronica and fit it into Henson’s very particular brand of beautiful. The tracks off Henson’s new album are not upbeat party tracks or thumping house. They are subtle and beautifully haunting, with electronic music technology used to retain gentle beats rather than to overpower. The album marks the evolution of Henson, cementing his position within the alternative music scene as an innovator and genius. He is constantly changing and evolving, the shift from his last album Romantic Works to Behaving is evident enough, yet he never loses his sense of self.
Behaving seamlessly incorporates electronica into Henson’s very particular brand of beautiful
I was pleased to hear the return of Henson’s vocals on his new album. He has a gentle, gruff yet beautiful voice that was sorely missed on his venture into classical composition, Romantic Works. Henson’s emotive voice and lyrics might not feature as heavily on Behaving as they did on Birthdays or Dear, but they nevertheless add something special to the new type of sound he weaves through Behaving.
These vocals, alongside the occasional backing vocal, meld together with Henson’s gorgeous piano sampling and the subtle, delicate electronics to create a truly stunning collection of work. I don’t know whether I would necessarily call this album Henson’s best work, personally I think it is a tall feat indeed to rise anywhere near as high as the success and power of Dear, but I feel sure in my convictions that the album will not leave fans disappointed.
As is usual with Henson, some of the tracks inevitably blend into one, but there are a few stand out tracks that really resonate something special. ‘Shower’ is simply stunning: the track is wonderfully unusual and unorthodox, with a beautiful base melody and piano work as well as some first class electronica. ‘Don’t Dance’ is also possibly my favourite of the lot: it is one of those songs that you can listen to one repeat and constantly marvel at. Though I think he may have set the bar too high with Birthdays and Romantic Works, it is absolutely stunning. It is Keaton Henson after all.