British singer-songwriter Ben Howard is returning with his fourth studio album, Collections From The Whiteout, out March 26 via Republic Records. Produced with Aaron Dessner (The National, Sharon Van Etten, Taylor Swift), Collections From The Whiteout marks the first time that Howard has opened his studio doors to an outside collaborator.
Howard, whose music has drawn comparisons to Nick Drake and John Martyn, is offering fans the first taste of his latest work with single “What a Day,” alongside a pastoral music video, helmed by French director and screenwriter, Cloé Bailly (Billie Eilish, Coldplay, Jay-Z).
“This was a nonsense idea loosely thrown together on the old English rhyme ‘back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other’ with a bit of animal hysteria thrown in,” explained Howard of the visual.
“Cloé somehow transformed a basic countryside shoot ‘em up into an amazing tale of delightful retribution. She is a queen of dark comedy and I’m so grateful that as friends we got to work together on it. The eclectic Bulgarian cast and crew somehow managed to pull this off in strange times, it was all the more entertaining in a completely foreign language.”
When it came to his latest album, the BRIT Award winner and Mercury Prize nominee was initially inspired during a trip to Portugal in 2019. According to a press release,
Howard was in his car, listening to People Collective (the collaborative project spearheaded by Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner). Struck by the music, Howard was moved to contact Aaron about working together.
“I was quickly fascinated by what Ben was doing and the state he was in,” said Dessner in a statement. “It was a good collision of openness, not on the clock. He’s making some of his most adventurous music and also writing some of his best songs at the same time.”
Collections From The Whiteout was recorded between New York (where Howard worked with Dessner at his Long Pond Studio), Paris, and the artist’s native Devon. The finishing touches were made remotely, amid lockdown, while the artist was hunkered down at his new home in Ibiza.
In addition to musical touches by Dessner, and Howard’s long-time guitarist, Mickey Smith, the album includes contributions by drummer Yussef Dayes, Kate Stables (This Is The Kit), Thomas Bartlett (St. Vincent), and Rob Moose (Bon Iver, Laura Marling, Phoebe Bridgers), among others.
Collections From The Whiteout follows 2018’s Noonday Dream. A Top 5 seller in the UK, the album earned Howard critical acclaim from the likes of Uncut, Mojo, The Independent, and DIY, which called the LP “an engrossing, deeply atmospheric trip.”
Collections From The Whiteout is available on March 26. Scroll down to view the tracklist and preorder it here.
Collections From The Whiteout tracklist:
1. Follies Fixture
2. What A Day
3. Crowhurst’s Meme
4. Finders Keepers
5. Far Out
7. You Have Your Way
8. Sage That She Was Burning
9. Sorry Kid
11. Metaphysical Cantations
12. Make Arrangements
13. The Strange Last Flight Of Richard Russell