Tuesday, November 5, 2013

CD Review: Richard X. Heyman - X

Note: This review originally appeared in the Illinois Entertainer.

Checking in with his 10th solo release, (the X title refers to the roman numeral as well as his middle name) Richard X. Heyman once again takes a DIY recording approach. By now, he's perfected the technique of layering his vocals, and he plays all the instruments. Far from having a bare-bones sound, the 15-song X is a lush collection of melodic ballads and rock tunes.

Heyman veers from dealing with personal relationships (romances and friendships) to more ominous observations on modern society. “We tried to follow the route but it led us to nowhere,” Heyman sings amidst the careening guitars and numerous metaphors on “Compass.” The slinky blues romp “House Of Cards” also finds him warning of dire circumstances, while the melancholy arrangement of the achingly beautiful “Counting Up The Days” underscores a need to move on. By far, the best moments on the CD come when Heyman crafts his patented power pop sound via ringing guitars on “Hangman Smiles,” “Somebody Has Finally Found Me,” and “When Denny Dropped Out Of The Scene.”

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