Time Stands Still
2009 / Real Music
Review by Michael Debbage
It has been a long winter’s day at work and you open the door to be greeted by candles everywhere you walk. To your surprise your spouse has drawn a deep hot bath that is bathed in the silhouettes of scented candles allowing you to soak your aching muscles and worries away for another day. Now that’s being smooth and romantic and to make it complete, without a doubt the soundtrack for this tender moment in your life would be Mike Howe’s superb and silky Time Stands Still.
Born in Wales, which is attached to the west side of England surrounded by the Irish and Atlantic Sea, Howe’s country has a typography that is so inspiring. From its highest point courtesy of Mount Snowden in the north to the sweeping beaches of Rhossili Beach in the Glamorgan southern county and everything in between, Wales has a rich landscape to draw inspiration from. And for just over 55 minutes that is exactly what Howe does.
Howe’s impressive debut focuses on the melody not the performance with the majority of his music contemplated on his acoustic guitar that has a deep rich resonance to it. His music is supplemented by his bass, keyboards and non intrusive percussion every now and then that gives his music a little variety though never veering away from the pastoral theme. This is best heard on the mid tempo ballad “For Claire” and the more enthusiastic “Musselwick”, a perfect recording for a gentle car ride in the countryside away from the commotion of the city. Otherwise, Howe sends you to the land of relaxation luxury courtesy of the peaceful “Heading West”, “The River May Rise” and the gorgeous “Run Deep” among too many others to mention. That said, there is no filler here, leaving you with the only expectation of wanting to know when and how Howe will manage to follow up this incredible debut.
The beauty of Mike Howe’s music does not come from an exhilarating execution that will take your breath away. Frankly, his music is precise and simple focusing on ultra smooth melodies that will allow you to take the deep breath of life and forget about the worries that each and every day brings. Enjoy the relaxing 55 minutes of Time Stands Still and live in the moment…live for today.
August 8, 2009