Parts That Hate Me
I know what you’re thinking; you probably saw the name of the artist and became hesitant about reading this. Singer/songwriter Edward Heppenstall shouldn’t take it personally. It’s not his fault that there are thousands of male solo artists clogging the independent scene, all of them fighting for airspace and a possible label deal. The internet, mp3s, portable studios and CD burners have given birth to a legion of artists who would’ve faded into obscurity two decades ago, their songs collecting dust on cassette demos. Many of these belong to the unclassified genre of White Men With Guitar.
But stop right there.
Heppenstall isn’t a John Mayer or Jack Johnson clone.
In fact, I thought of Peter Gabriel when I saw his arty album cover. Sure enough, Heppenstall, like Gabriel, dances in the land between pop and progressive rock. In other words, the music has a high standard of sophistication; this is not paint-by-numbers pop music. You can tell that somebody has put thought into the arrangements and placement of the hooks.
Before grunge, rock wasn’t afraid to be a tad funky — it’s unfortunate that the Seattle brigade had no sense of rhythm, because they influenced music to be tuneless for more than a decade. There’s no grunge blood in Heppenstall’s system. His songs are melodic with toe-tapping guitar riffs that recall, at times, The Talking Heads, The Police and The Fixx.
You mean…new wave?
Somewhat. Heppenstall doesn’t venture all the way into new wave territory, but he does brush against it, which easily separates him from other White Men With Guitar.
If you miss what FM rock radio used to be, playing records with memorable songwriting and top-notch musicianship, then Heppenstall is your ticket home.
Edward Heppenstall: www.edwardheppenstall.com