This afternoon, I went to Rough Trade to collect the records I had ordered. And there, I saw the album of the week “Halls” and took a quick listen. And how I loved it! This 21 year-old guy Sam Howard had produced a spiritual, elegant and cinematic record. The songs had a beautiful tension to them. Then, just as I was about to leave, I saw some young kids doing soundcheck. As it turned out, Halls was about to give an in-store gig. To my utter disappointment, I could only listen to a song or two due to a dinner engagement. But from what I’ve heard, they were pretty amazing. All the time I kept thinking: These guys are just 21 years old. When do they become such good musicians? When do they learn how to write? How to produce? How to use excerpts from Mozart, add up church choirs and make it work?

After I came home, I started listening to their debut “Ark” and by the time I got to Reverie, I had already fallen for it. While Howard yearned, “I can’t ask to see you, but it doesn’t mean that I’m the only one…” with that soulful voice of his, I was getting more and more drawn to it. However, the album has its shortcomings. After a while, some songs start to feel too much alike and the journey the album takes you on can be a bit overwhelming. Ark is not for everyone but it’s a solid effort for those who are into the whole James Blake meets Thom Yorke thing. I look forward to catching them live soon, hopefully in a church which would be the perfect setting to the heartache they are fostering.