Heyward Howkins – “Cut & Corral”
Heyward Hopkins’ sophomore LP, Be Frank, Furness, features spright efforts with a narrative folk-pop allure, similar to the work of Jens Lekman and Stephin Merritt. There’s also an exotic Destroyer-like mystique present on tracks like “Lorraine” and “Praline County”, two excellent efforts in addition to the standout “Cut & Corral”. For a bit of background, Heyward borrows his name from his five-times grandfather Thomas Heyward (nicknamed “The Singing Signer”), who was “a founding father and signer of the Declaration of Independence.” On a track like “Cut & Corral”, he waves in and out of finger-licking delicious acoustic progressions, which halt for momentous hooks — like the brass-laden brilliance at 01:32. Hopkins has a knack for strikingly beautiful arrangements, like the acoustic lead-in to “Lorraine”, and he completes the sound with engrossing poetic narratives. Although there are dark corners, Be Frank, Furness “is defined by Heyward’s embrace of the playful and celebratory.” It’s evident on gems like “Cut & Corral”, and several highlights on this pleasant LP.