I suspect most of you reading this already know who Richard X. Heyman is, as he’s been making cool music for many years. But for those not familiar with the East Coast-based singer, songwriter, producer and multi-tasker of instruments, allow me to provide a brief sketch of his accomplishments.
Richard’s initial brush of fame occurred in the 1960s, when becoming drummer for the Doughboys. The band released a couple of great singles, splintered at the end of the decade, reunited several years ago and are hotter than ever. Referencing their teenage influences, the band plays a mean breed of blues-bleached garage rock in the mode of groups like the Rolling Stones, the Standells, the Animals and the Shadows of Knight. Prior to the resurrection of the Doughboys, Richard mainly focused his energy on solo work, which has not only been artistically satisfying, but appealing to the public and critics as well.
A non-stop music machine, Richard has just unveiled his tenth solo album, X (Turn Up Records), which is jam packed with the type of melodic missives he is habitually recognized for. Dependable but never boring, here’s a fellow capable of always adding something new and exciting to traditional pop rock templates.
Splashed with sweeping keyboard flourishes, “The Difference Between Us” gushes with grand gestures, where tracks such as “Somebody Has Found Me,” “Hangman Smiles” and “Compass” rock insistently to catchy and commanding rhythms.
Much of the material on X actually owes a pinch and tickle to the sweet and chiming guitar sound of the Byrds, secured tight with folky rock styled vocals that bear more than a casual hello to those of Roger McGuinn. “So Much Forever” and “When Denny Dropped Out Of The Scene” are numbers where the jangle factor rates especially high, and then there’s the moody “Verges On The Day” that drifts and glides with the kind of dreamy elements the fabled Los Angeles band practiced during their psychedelic phase.
Potent arrangements, layered with crafty hooks characterize each song on this impressive disc. Richard’s pop sensibilities are functioning and firing on all cylinders, while his inner rock god aspirations also frequently swagger their way into the mix. Emitting warmth, honesty and a timeless quality, X indeed marks the spot!