Friend of Howard

Friend of Howard

Friend of Howard


Martha Berner, working under the Friend of Howard moniker, debuts with a mature collection of strummed college pop in the singer-singwriter vein. Her strong vocals are the center point of attention, and producer Jake Johnson gives the disc an indistinct but solid sound, perfect for radio and, surely, TV programmers. If Friend of Howard doesn•t shift a lot of units, Berner could always settle on a career writing songs for Melrose Place. •Or Anyway• is a finely crafted 10,000 Maniacs meets Natalie Merchant number, and is the disc•s standout track, along with the closing track, •Tuesday.• Berner delivers on every song; she knows her scope and songwriting prowess and sticks to her established blueprint. This is probably a good idea considering how well she does this kind of thing. It•s by no means revelatory, and Friend of Howard is a long way from breaking new ground or carving out a unique sound, but that•s hardly her intention either. Rather, this is a solid EP of uptempo radio pop, as easily forgettable as it•s instantly likeable. And that•s not such a bad thing.

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