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coverpic flag Canada - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 21 - 07/09/98

Howie Beck
Pop And Crash
13 Clouds Records

From the second I put this in the CD player I could tell I had a winner.

The first track, You Wear It Well is a short, upbeat acoustic song. Howie immediately shows that he can retain the catchyness of many of his peers without the cheese and crappy lyrics I tend to associate with this style of acoustic pop.

I think the full-band suits his music well, the songs are arranged nicely and with inventiveness and flavour.

Howie's Voice is really great, it has a little bit of rawness to it, with just a little bit of cocky innocence to top it off. His lyrics are creative and interesting, with sincerity and emotion. The nice thing about Howie is that he never overdoes it, he seems to let his sincerity guide his songs along instead of shoving it in your face. He finds a nice balance between being emotional and dignified.

I think the best thing about this record has to be its hooks. I could never get bored listening to this record. There is always a great chorus building up, a cool bass line, or a fun lyric poking my ears at every turn. The album seems to be neither happy or sad, just a guy thinking about things. It's amazing how well all of the little parts of this album go together, the songs are so simple, but the arrangements are so busy. I think that aspect will give this album more longevity than it would otherwise have.

My favorite track has to be Skinny Arms, maybe because I have skinny arms, but I think it's because this track has a little bit more kick to it. It has a tender-uniqueness that kind of pulls all the talent together.

Howie's voice reminds me a little of Elliott Smith, only cleaner and bolder. I think for some reason I hear a little bit of Andrew Whiteman on some of the tracks. Those are the only comparisons I could come up with.

Whatever you say about this record, there is no denying the creative and catchy songwriting behind it. I waited way too long to buy this album, don't make the same mistake I did.

Howie just finished touring Southern Ontario with Hayden. Look for him at the Rivoli in Toronto.

Copyright © 1998 Laura Bowman e-mail address

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