Howie Beck

Hollow

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With his debut album, Hollow, Toronto native Howie Beck has constructed a remarkably rich and melancholy work. Beck put this album together in his bedroom studio, but this is a homespun recording with a lush heart -- and not some lo-fi curiosity. With his unerringly pop-tinged songcraft, swooning (albeit primarily acoustic-based) arrangements, and breathy vocals, Beck often evokes (and matches the feats of) such pensive pop masters as Joe Pernice (the Pernice Brothers) and Elliott Smith -- especially on such blissfully reflective fare as "Maybe I Belong" and "Serves You Right." Hollow is packed to the seams with breathtakingly melodic sleights of hand, and seems to dwell permanently in some gorgeously brokenhearted twilight state.

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