Power Pop veteran Richard X. Heyman returned this year to give us “X,” aka his tenth album. Starting out similar to the biographical Tiers, “When Denny Dropped Out of the Scene” describes a friend who slowly fades from the friendship. Next “Please Be Mindful” is an orchestrated piano epic and a little bit of The Doughboys garage style rubs off on the rocker “Compass.”
Heyman delivers with his jangling guitar on “Firing Line,” and “Somebody Has Finally Found Me.” The ballads slow things down a bit and it loses some momentum after the mid-point, but then “If You Have To Ask” is a classic melody that compares with the best he’s ever done. More gems include “Hangman Smiles” and the finale “Will To Go On.” Overall, this is a terrific return to form and an essential album for fans. Like other DIY “one-man-bands” (Paul McCartney, Emitt Rhodes or Todd Rundgren) Heyman is a master of melody and he proves it over and over again.