REVIEW: Henry Bateman – ‘Take a Form’

henry bateman

If I could sing the praises of an album to the world, this would be one of them. I would hire a choir to help me drive the point home, and have plenty of dazzling lights, because Henry Bateman’s Take a Form is truly a masterpiece from beginning to end. He is a gifted storyteller, and he showcases that with ease on the album.

“The Garden” is a stunning piano introduction that carries a cinematic effect, almost like the changing of the seasons in a film (see also “The Moth,” which features haunting female vocals, acting as a beautiful interlude on the album). There is a powerful, melancholy tone throughout the track. By the time Bateman’s vocals come sweeping in, it’s like being slowly pulled out of an instrumental trance. The poetry in each line of the lyrics just adds a whole new dimension to the track entirely; the amount of imagery presented is almost startling, especially as the song begins to build. It leads perfectly into “Little Boy In The Haze,” a track with a soft, almost summery feel to it, with the acoustics coming into play. Sad, but gorgeous, the song seems to tell the story of a little boy who is struggling through what seems to be the fighting of family members, more than likely a bitter divorce, and, despite the sad story, has a underlying hopefulness to it; this tiny bit of fight that’s left. “You don’t have to die to lose your life. There’s nowhere to hide,” Bateman croons, adding a philosophical presence to the song. Similarly, “Two Brothers, One Barricade,” utilizes this presence, and shapes the album well (see also “Grandad”).

“Grown” has a great rhythm to it, as well as harmonics that are absolutely magnificent; there’s a classic feel that reminds me of the songs my grandad used to play for me as a kid. Bateman crafts a perfect commentary on what it feels like to realize you’re getting older and it’s happening faster and faster. “Show No Fear” follows in a similar breath with a sense of realization that relationships don’t have to end because you’re afraid, as you may have done in the past, all backed by rich, building instrumentals. “Sober” carries a sweet, almost innocent tone to it that will make you smile. But there is also this soberingly (pun unintentional) clear admission that the people we love are not perfect, and we cannot always keep the promises we make.

However, it is “Constellations” that leaves me feeling light. if I could box up perfect acoustics, this track has them. In fact, if I could just wrap this song up in general, put a ribbon on it, and gift it out a million times, I would. It’s a stunning work of art. The instrumentals are truly beautiful, and the harmonics between male and female vocals are almost chilling. Hands down, one of the best songs on the album, for the instrumentals alone, although it does have some competition with one of the live tracks that cap off the end of the album. “Only Hope,” reminiscent of the style of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s “Falling Slowly,” showcases an evident longing for one person, the whirlwind of falling in love.

“Take Me Home” finishes off the album, and does so perfectly. The live track, features stunning piano, crafting a soft, almost worn down sound, with a rawness that will remind you exactly why this album is so wonderful: because Henry Bateman is a wonderful musician and storyteller.

For more on Henry Bateman, please click HERE.

You can purchase Take a Form at a show (for all dates, click HERE) or by emailing henrybatemanorders@gmail.com

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