Richard X. Heyman

Rightovers

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Calling Richard X. Heyman underappreciated is a bit like saying the Beatles were fairly popular -- an analogy that's not inappropriate, given the fact that at his best, Heyman's level of craft actually approaches that of the Fab Four. While to the uninitiated that may sound like someone going overboard to make a point, a listen to Heyman's fifth album, Rightovers, offers plenty of evidence that he is truly one of the past, present, and future masters of smart power pop. Rightovers consists largely of songs Heyman recorded for his 2002 disc, Basic Glee, which didn't make the cut, and the fact is that this man's leftovers put most artists' top-shelf material to shame. As a songwriter, Heyman can conjure up hooky rockers ("Where Are You Now"), moody psychedelia ("August"), tuneful ballads ("Believe I Will"), or heartfelt midtempo janglers ("As Long as the Wild") and sound intelligent and engaging at all times, while his lyrics are every bit as well-crafted as his tunes. And with the exception of (very) occasional help on bass and vocals, Heyman works his magic all by his lonesome, overdubbing all the parts himself, and he's one of the few studio-bound one-man bands who is capable of sounding as breezy and emphatic as a real combo (and unlike the average overdub maven, he's a really great rock drummer, while his D.I.Y. harmonies are as gorgeous as anything you've heard since 5D). While seemingly intended as a odds-and-ends release for hardcore fans, Rightovers is just as strong and every bit as enjoyable as one of Heyman's "real" albums, and while the long out of print Hey Man! may be his best set, anyone who loves a great melody and a killer hook will fall in love with this disc -- and hopefully start investigating the rest of Heyman's superb body of work. [Originally only available to fans through his website, in 2005 the album was made available to the general public as downloads.]

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