‘Should I’ is the new single by Gloucestershire singer-songwriter Henry Bateman.
Henry Bateman is a songwriter from Gloucestershire, currently studying at the acclaimed Leeds College of Music. Never one to be in a ‘mould’, Henry’s style has been influenced by a range of original guitarists/singer/songwriters – ranging from Michael Hedges to Peter Gabriel, Randy Newman and James Taylor. Their influences have been formative in shaping Henry’s ability to play sparkling fingerstyle guitar and write and perform his own compositions with a confidence and flair that is earning him a burgeoning reputation for his spellbinding live work. His noteworthy live performances include ‘Live at Leeds’, ‘Verdi Italian’ at The Royal Albert Hall, supporting virtuoso guitarist Mike Dawes, and London Folkfest. His debut EP ‘Open Arms’ was released in April 2013 and his album ‘Take A Form’ in June 2015 – the latter being released to high critical acclaim, with Planet Stereo describing it as “Truly a masterpiece from beginning to end”. In November 2016, Henry releases his next single: “Should I?”.
‘Should I?’ is awash with dulcet, sultry tones caressed over the intimate sounds of a close-mic’d acoustic guitar. Bateman’s gentle-yet-smoky voice is complemented by the sounds of fingers swiping the strings and bumping the frets in a beautifully produced song which wouldn’t sound out of place next to Keane’s ‘Bedshaped’, or something by Frou Frou or Radiohead.
The overall melancholic sound of the piece retains interest by featuring a curiously optimistic harmonic buildup which one expects to reach a crescendo, only to collapse into an anticlimactic chorus. If this sounds like a criticism, it isn’t – the anticlimax of the chorus gives way to a strange loneliness to the guitar which escapes its electronic embellishments to underline the song’s title: should I? Should I?
Bateman’s voice is accompanied throughout by background female vocals, which sweep across the melody with electronic sounds in a haunting melody, echoing like sirens in a lonely street in a rain-sodden city centre. Yet, in spite of the sounds of potent heartbreak, one feels a strange desire to sing along to Bateman’s ‘sad samba’-like song, which seems as though it treats its simple time signature as though it were a compound one. This nuance wouldn’t sound out of place in derelict ballroom, where two broken lovers share one last dance.
One to watch, Bateman’s music is full of promise.
You can buy a copy of this enchanting single here.
In his own words:
“This is a song I started work on about a year ago – inspired by a large of expanse of space in Leeds called Hyde Park, and that so often blurred line that falls between human instinct and morality. The song follows a man, wracked with anxiety, as he walks around the city night, trying to work out where his intentions fall on that blurred line. It features performances from eleven amazingly talented musicians who I have met since I started studying at Leeds College of Music in September 2015, and it was produced by myself and Tim Goddard, who also engineered, mixed and mastered the track. It can be purchased from 7th November from henrybatemanmusic.bandcamp.com , along with the b-side, “How A Man Should Be”. The single will be released alongside a brand new video, made with Katie Griffin.”
Author details: Martha Marie; Martha Marie is a young up-and-coming writer and events reviewer based in Leeds who, after achieving a BA degree in Popular and World Music, pursues a career in music journalism.