The first thing that caught my attention about Heyward Howkins was his voice. A perfect balance between Antony Hegarty and Roy Orbison that gives the songs a bit of classic rock and post-modernism at the same time. My first time through the record I focused almost entirely on the vocals, unable to really pay any attention to anything else going on. They’ve done a nice job of pushing Howkins way out in front of everything else, it would have been such a waste to bury his voice underneath the other instruments.
Of course, there’s more going on that just singing on Be Frank, Furness. It’s actually a very well put-together record featuring some great drumming by Erik Schmidt (particularly on “Cut & Corral”). Most of the songs follow a kind of slow burn formula that gives the album a constant that makes it a comfortable listen. It’s something you can very easily get lost in if you allow yourself, which I do recommend doing.
This is the second full-length from Heyward Howkins, and if it’s an indicator of things to come, I definitely think you should keep your ears open for anything he does in the future. If you’re a fan of songwriters like Pete Droge or Matthew Sweet, you’ll dig what Howkins is doing. You can pick up Be Frank, Furness as a digital download for $8 or a limited edition vinyl for $12 on Bandcamp.