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Howardian - A Smurf at Land's End


by Kevin Wierzbicki

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Art rockers Howardian have been around for more than 20-years; still front man Ian Vanek is probably better-known for his role as one-half of the duo that comprises Japanther. The album's title gives away the fact that the listener is in for some quirky fun here, and songs like "Cap'n Such n' Such" do not disappoint in that respect; the tune is a bouncy and very catchy slice of art pop that demands a sing-along, especially when Vanek name-checks Howardian by spelling out the group name. "Cinnamon Rolls" plays out to a marching beat with airy keyboard carrying the melody; at about two minutes in length the audio treat is gone in about the same amount of time it takes to wolf down an actual cinnamon roll. "Front Street" is a space rocker worthy of Hawkwind; "I'm the Ocean," a jazzy hip-hop flavored instrumental, is on the other hand about as down to earth as you can get and about the only song here that's not adorned with effects. "No Nothin' Bae" is also gently infused with hip-hop but the main portion of the song rocks like the Alan Parsons Project; like all of the other interesting combinations on A Smurf at Land's End the melding of styles works perfectly, and those who like clever but not cutesy modern music will do themselves a favor by checking this one out.

Howardian - A Smurf at Land's End
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