TRYING to follow his hugely successful debut album Only Kingdom was always going to be a challenge for Ben Howard, pictured.

After all, his 2011 release garnered a Mercury Prize nomination and helped the Devonshire singer-songwriter win two Brit Awards.

However, any inclination that the 27-year-old musician would be content to replicate the indie-folk formula that previously proved so popular are dispelled on Small Things, the opening track of new album I Forget Where We Were.

Dark and atmospheric, with echoing guitars and strained vocals, it encapsulates the more aggressive sound that permeates the whole album.

Fans of his debut will be satisfied by the sprinkling of stripped-back acoustic numbers, but it’s the grander material which leaves the most profound impression.