Richard X. Heyman: Incognito (Tune Up)

Richard X. Heyman

Richard X. Heyman
(Tune Up)

Richard X. Heyman started out as a drummer in the 1960s garage rock band the Doughboys, and since he went solo with his 1988 debut ‘Living Room,’ Heyman has proven album after album that his real talents are meant to be at the front of the stage.

On ‘Incognito,’ his 12th and latest record, Heyman shows yet again that he was meant to be a front man. In fact, aside from bass, horns, cello and violin, ‘Incognito’ is solely Heyman on the instruments, playing some of the finest power pop since Big Star and Jellyfish disbanded. This album is a solid follow up to 2013’s ‘X,’ one of his best albums in years.

‘Incognito’ kicks off with the title track and sets the tone perfectly for what follows, a bit darker than some of his other work, but still with plenty of strong pop sensibilities. Though not realty a concept album and lacking any specific topical refences, Heyman wrote the album in 2016, a tumultuous time in our country and there is definitely some of that darkness that seeps in on some of these songs (“These Troubled Times”).

That being said, Heyman still has both feet firmly planted in the world of power pop, so don’t expect him to compete with folks like Bauhaus. There are still plenty of melodies and jangly riffs to be found throughout the record, like on the horn heavy “So What” or the rocking “Terry Two Timer.”