Album Review: Richard X Heyman – 67,000 Miles an Album

There are few artists as capable of such consistently wonderful songwriting mastery as Richard X. Heyman. A master of jangle, the NYC-based multi-instrumentalist has a seemingly inexhaustible well of creativity, from which he has drawn gem after gem after musical gem.

Heyman debuted on record with 1988’s Living Room!!, a collection of perfectly-formed pop rock classics; he followed that up with more superb records. Personal favorites include Hey Man! and Actual Sighs (2007), but you really can’t go wrong with any of his finely-crafted releases.

That reality is unlikely to change anytime soon: his latest, 67,000 Miles an Album is stuffed with the same sort of durable ear candy that characterizes his previous works. If there’s any criticism that can be leveled toward Heyman – and admittedly one has to dig deep to come up with anything in this regard – it’s that the songs on his new record don’t really sound all that different from the tunes he was writing and recording three and a half decades ago.

Consistency is its own kind of virtue, though. His approach – rock-solid yet splashy drums, subtle bass work (often provided by wife Nancy), lovely guitar picking, soaring multi-tracked vocals and judicious use of other instrumentation (horns, keyboards) – defines the very concept of formula. But that isn’t a bad thing, and shouldn’t be thought of as such. Especially when the results are so unyieldingly enjoyable.

Though he only occasionally does so, Heyman can rock hard: check out “Traveling Salesman” for proof. But more characteristic of his style is the gentle Merseybeat-inflected “Her Likeness.” Richard X. Heyman is preternaturally skilled when it comes to creating melodic works, miniature masterpieces. And 67,000 Miles an Album is merely the latest in a largely unbroken string of must-have releases.