REVIEWS

INCOGNITO | X | Tier/And Other Stories | Actual Sighs | Basic Glee | Cornerstone | Living Room!! and Hey Man!

Raves for
INCOGNITO

“I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. Richard X Heyman may very well be the best power pop purveyor on the planet...Heyman maintains a steadfast reverence for classic rock ‘n’ roll with a melodious intent, the kind of thing that once dominated the radio waves back in the day. His melodies are instantly infectious, his delivery chock full of energy and exuberance and his talents are beyond compare. A veritable one man show…he delivers songs replete with the kind of hooks and dashing melodies that take complete command from the first notes on. This is an electrifying, highflying set of songs, bolder than anything Heyman’s yet to offer in his nearly 30 year career. It ought to be considered absolutely essential.”
Lee Zimmerman/Goldmine


Richard X. Heyman is back with his 12th album, this one featuring an outstanding batch of 14 must-hear original songs. Incognito is an album that grabs the listener on first listen, with literate tales that are melodic, adorned with shimmering harmonies and infectious guitar-anchored hooks that outdistance the majority of his power pop contemporaries. In a better world, the title track Incognito, A Fool's Errand and Her Garden Path would be all over the radio. Heyman can conjure up firepower to spare, as evidenced by the driving Chalk It Up and soulful Terry Two Timer. And Heyman's skills to create and craft wistful songs bolstered by melodic rock are as strong as any artist in memory (just listen to the yearning Americana-tinged And Then and Gleam). A masterwork from start to finish.”
Robert Kinsler/Rockwrite


Richard X. Heyman is unquestionably a legend. He was one of the first “one man band” recording artists, in the grand tradition of Paul McCartney, Emitt Rhodes and Todd Rundgren. He’s been cranking out great records for as long as I can remember – I bought his first single, Vacation, when I saw it on the wall of Golden Disc (Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village, that is) in 1980 or early 1981. So should it be any surprise that his latest – his 12th album – Incognito is filled with those pop gems, filled with color and melody? None whatsoever. It should be listened to and absorbed immediately. Just listen to the shimmering opening of the title cut – that cascading guitar is, in a word, magnificent and chill-inducing…the harmonies are glorious and the guitar nuances are just right – the acoustic-driven stomper Gleam could easily be played on any radio station (love the backing vocals) and the keyboard-based, gospel-tinged In Our Best Interest packs an emotional punch that can’t be understated. Her Garden Path is “classic Heyman” – that 12-string Ric chime with a heaviness that rocks the pop – Heyman at his best, frankly; the heartbreak and drama in the feel of These Troubled Times makes this one track to focus on – a serious message that should make you think and the Byrds-yness of Miss Shenandoah Martin is simply another showcase piece not to be overlooked.”
Popdose


Richard X. Heyman is one of those performers who can always be counted on to pack his records with tunes that are impeccably constructed and expertly performed, and his latest is no exception. Incognito‘s 14 songs run the gamut from the slightly mysterious, harmony-filled title track and the pure pop charmer A Fool’s Errand to the powerful Chalk it Up (just one of many songs that show off Heyman’s amazing drum chops) and the timeless-sounding, beautifully sad breakup song In Our Best Interest, which sounds like it could have been a hit single in the mid-‘70s. Speaking of the ‘70s, three tracks where RXH makes like a soul man may be the best things here: the horn-infused So What and Terry Two Timer both glide along like classic R&B, as does the disc-closing Everybody Gets Wise, in which Heyman fashions an O’Jays-type groove and touches on a bit of social commentary with lyrics such as “the system is broken/there’s no easy fix.” They’re the cornerstones of Incognito, which stands as Heyman’s finest album in 20 years. Grade: A”
John Borack/Goldmine


“The music of Richard X. Heyman has been a steady presence during the 22-year history of Pure Pop Radio. I picked up on Richard’s wonderful songs just prior to the release of Cornerstone, his third album…Nine albums later, Incognito arrives, Richard’s 12th long player, and his best work by far. It is hard to fathom exactly what drives an artist to produce such good work so far into his career, other than the simple desire to create and the presence of a never-depleting well of inspiration and innate talent. It is evident at every step that Incognito’s 14 songs are proof positive that Richard’s mission has been and continues to be fulfilled. Dazzling songs and equally dazzling performances greet you at every turn…Richard’s playing is stellar, Incognito is stellar, a monumental achievement from an artist who never disappoints.”
Pure Pop Radio


Heyman’s songs, whether touching on garage rock, blues or punk, are all about melody. There’s an inherent catchiness in seemingly all that he puts out, placing him in an exclusive pantheon alongside songsmiths such as Todd Rundgren, Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney, to whom he’s drawn comparisons.”
Highway81revisited.com


“This record, Heyman’s 12th, is full of the kind of jangly guitar pop that I’ve loved for many years…A Fool’s Errand is a terrific little pop tune that should be a radio hit. He cranks up the tempo a bit on Chalk It Up and then gets romantic on us on And Then (which reminded me a little of The Feelies as does the even janglier excellent Gleam) and breaks out the horn section on the terrific So What. Don’t stop there as Heyman tucks some more gems near the end of the album like the dreamy Her Garden Path (which reminded me somewhere right in the middle of Game Theory and the Three O’Clock), the dreamy Lift and These Troubled Times which reminds us of the mess we’re in all in a lovely 3-minute song…He’s showing no signs of slowing down. Give him your undivided attention. He deserves it, he’s earned his keep.”
Dagger Zine


Richard X. Heyman strikes pop-rock gold with his 2017 solo album Incognito. A drummer and a versatile multi-instrumentalist, Heyman has been compared to gifted pop giants like McCartney, Rundgren and even cult-pop hero Emitt Rhodes. While also echoing the spirits of rock legends like Dylan and Springsteen, Heyman skillfully cooks up something uniquely all his own on the 14 track Incognito. Heyman rocks up a storm, playing most of the instruments himself. Pop aficionados have been hip to Richard X. Heyman for years and the 2017 CD release of Incognito will please long time fans as well as providing a solid introduction for the uninitiated.”
mwe3.com


“What can I say about this new album from Richard X. Heyman? This album is GREAT! It is probably my favorite album from Richard, and I’ve heard quite a few, if not all of them. Richard, the drummer for the Doughboys, is an all around instrumentalist and good at all of them. His songwriting is superb, his melodies are wonderful, as are his lyrics. If I had to pick out a song that I don’t like on this album, I can’t do that. This is Richard’s Abbey Road. That one album, where every track is a gem. This album is full of Rock & Pop, just like the Beatles. One of the songs even has that Spencer Davis Group sound. What more can I say? Go out and buy this album now. I rate this 5 out of 5 Music Guru Stars.”
music guru radio


Richard X. Heyman rates highly as one of those vintage old school rock'n'roll dudes with an amazing aptitude for deftly merging catchy melodies and dynamic arrangements with smart and insightful lyrics. Heyman's latest album offers proof positive that he sure hasn't lost his touch as he delivers loads of meaty hooks and kickin' riffs along with thoughtful observations on the current troubled state of the world. While Heyman's smooth voice and sharp songwriting are quite impressive, it's his indomitable fighting spirit and positive outlook on facing life's steady succession of hardships head on that in turn makes this album so inspiring and uplifting.”
Jersey Beat/Joe Wawrzyniak


Heyman has released Incognito, a collection of 14 power pop gems that could only come from a true pop music craftsman. Described on his website as “one of the first ‘one man band’ recording artists, in the grand tradition of Paul McCartney, Emitt Rhodes and Todd Rundgren,” Heyman is capable of churning out top-shelf tunes that rival any of those guys. The bright, melodic sounds on Incognito hearken back to when radio waves were full of such stuff, but without merely going “retro.” Just listen to the sparkling guitar that opens the title track, the flavorful vocal harmonies reminiscent of CSN&Y, the Beatlesque beauty A Fool’s Errand, the majestic, hook-laden And Then, and the album’s centerpiece, the bouncy, Byrds-ish love song Gleam. R&B horns make the scene on So What, Traffic-style psych is the order of the day on Her Garden Path, Heyman channels Dylan on Miss Shenandoah Martin and Bob Seger on the raucous Terry Two Timer, waxes philosophical (with just a hint of the late great Warren Zevon’s sound and sentiment) on These Troubled Times, then brings Incognito to a rousing close with the soulful call-to-arms Everybody Get Wise. Heyman’s extraordinary rock ‘n’ roll voice – a mix of Steve Winwood and Graham Parker with a touch of Tom Petty – is the meat ‘n’ potatoes of this album…so much so it’s a wonder the guy isn’t more of a household name by now. Let’s just stay home, lie on the couch…and remain (and listen to) Incognito.”
Schizomusica


“This is the latest full-length release from one of Power Pop’s most talented and time-tested singer/songwriters. There is never any filler on an RXH album – and Incognito showcases Heyman’s ability to blend many musical styles and influences under the Power Pop umbrella. The entire album is a joy to listen to, but my favorite track is These Troubled Times. RXH is a charter member of my Power Pop All-Star Band. Long may you run, Sir Richard!”
PopGeekHeaven


“This reliably intriguing power pop artist from New York City has made a solid string of essential albums, from 1988’s Living Room!! onward. With Incognito, he’s made another rocking album of original material that sounds like no one else. If one simply focuses on the chiming melodies and Heyman’s glorious self-harmonizing, Incognito reveals a myriad of charms.”
Musoscribe


“Veteran cult artist Richard X. Heyman’s music has long run deeper than power pop, and Incognito is no exception. Yes, there are jangly guitars and insistent rhythms that make you want to dance, and yes, there are gorgeous vocal harmonies that would sound perfect emanating from a transistor radio on the Jersey Shore, but other elements seep in, too. If he has broadly accessible moments, it’s because he isn’t just making music for himself... [enjoy] the easy beats and tasty licks, the soaring choruses and seemingly ageless comfort in Heyman’s voice. Enjoy this for the sake of the music itself, it’s occasionally more poignant powers are simply a bonus.”
Spectrum Culture


Richard X. Heyman’s status as a cult musician has never stopped him from delivering topnotch power pop songs. His latest album, Incognito continues that trend. On it, Heyman traverses the distance between the head and the heart with songs that reflect on the social and political realities of contemporary life and the timeless topic of love.”
Jedd Beaudoin/Wichita NPR


Heyman may be eclectic or even eccentric, but he’s also a rocker. Heyman understands that hard rock can be loud without heavy thuds. After all, the sound of an electric guitar or a human voice has much more force when it is not part of a wall of noise. On the best songs here, such as A Fool’s Errand, Her Garden Path, and Gleam, Heyman controls the material through his voluble ringing guitar. The music fluently travels higher and higher without ever losing its way.”
PopMatters


Heyman doesn’t rush things, and his craftsmanship is what sets him apart from other indie musicians. A multitude of bouncy, interesting songs are standouts: And Then utilizes Heyman’s skillful harmonies and the Motown-influenced So What has its playful horn flourishes. And when it comes to solid pop-rock check out Her Garden Path, Lift and Terry Two Timer…highly recommended.”
Powerpopaholic


“The muse is running strong for Heyman, who still finds magic in the music.”
KO63 Music


Incognito is one of his very best…music that makes you happy, gives you energy, and you’ll soon be addicted to it.”
Kees van Wee/Heaven


Richard’s strong respect for the LP format makes Incognito a well paced listen. There are touches of acoustic folk, funk, and garage rock all throughout but things roll forward in a beautifully, well thought out manner. A cerebral offering with clear underlying structure but never to the point where it compromises the unbridled fun, emotive qualities of the tracks.”
Dylan Bowker/Liberty Multimedia


"Richard X. Heyman’s Gleam feels deeply reassuring. Keeping things to the absolute essentials, the song contains a nostalgic hue to it that gives the song such heart. Guitar work feels so precise as it brings together folk and rock n’ roll with such grace.”
Skopemag.com video review


“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.”
Innocent Words Magazine & Records


“More power pop greatness from one of the masters.”
Steve Hoffman Forums