Ben Marwood – ‘Back Down’

By Clara Cullen

Having built up a dedicated following with his witty folk songs, Reading’s Ben Marwood has returned with his second album ‘Back Down’. Building on the success of his debut album, ‘Back Down’ sounds more accomplished in every way. The songwriting has been finely tuned while the production is crisp and professional. Gone are the days of lo-fi bedroom recordings, in its place is an album that is not only a big step up, but one that also manages to retain the charms that first drew people in.

Opening on familiar ground, the soft acoustics of ‘For The Skin and The Bone’ eases you in gently. Although the songs are primarily built on acoustic strumming, the diversity of sound has greatly increased – helping to push at comfort zones. Enlisting the help of a whole mis-mash of bands hailing from Reading’s music scene, ‘Back Down’ is very much a collaborative effort. Always adept at songwriting, Marwood’s lyrics straddle both the acerbic in ‘This Industry Eats Its Young’ and the reflective in ‘An Escape From Yeehaw Junction’.

Fan favourite ‘We Are No Longer Twenty-Five’ provides the sure-fire the sing-along moment of the album. It is as life affirming as anything you’ll hear this year – “Although I’ve wasted days I won’t take back these nights, I will not let go,I’ll live my life”. Yet, for the most part ‘Back Down’ is darker than its predesscer, exploring the pitfalls of relationships and even features a murder ballad in the form of ‘Under Lock and Key’. While some will regret the loss of Marwood’s more comedic songs, the album’s shift of focus is a welcomed development. By foraging deeper into tricky territory, the brutal honesty results in the album’s finest moments. In particular the delicate accapella of ‘Lake Wales’ is possibly the best song Marwood has written to date.¬†Simply put ‘Back Down’ is a mighty fine album, ditching the clich√© of the difficult second album entirely, on the back of this expect Marwood’s rabid following to grow even larger.

CLARA CULLEN

Three more album reviews for you

LIVE: Bring Me The Horizon / Fever 333 @ Alexandra Palace, London

All Ears Avow - 'Skin & Bones'

LIVE: Deaf Havana / iDKHOW @ O2 Academy Brixton