Howards Alias - Beat Heart. Beat (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Howards Alias

Beat Heart. Beat (2005)

Household Name

You could say Howards Alias' Beat Heart. Beat is a band's attempt to bring a foreign outfit's sound to fruition in said band's native land. And thus, you could potentially call Howards Alias "the United Kingdom's RX Bandits." While the band does make noticable usage of horns, it's much less ska-punk as it is prog-influenced punk/rock with horns, with that same RXB-styled semi-experimentalism and, although much less prominent here, socio-politico overtones. Their melodies, fluid and staccato stop-starts, and general flow is definitively similar as well, and yet, it's an interesting album that manages to move somewhat past these glaring details and showcase a lot of potential for fulfilling their own little niche.

The mid-tempo stomp of "Wrong Note" opens things up, and acts merely as a subtle pull-in before the melodic, upbeat and BHB's best track, "Rabbit In Headlights," swings through. It's a catchy, declarative number that could definitely make some rounds on the college rock charts if given the chance. "Exit on Left" puts forth some heavily strummed upstrokes to try and give some of the record the dub/reggae flavor that's likely to complement the band's sound well if implemented more. The record seems to really lose its steam as it marches on, and with 13 tracks spanning nearly an hour certainly drags. However, it has its moments; the near six-minute "Time for Bed" brings together some interesting composure as it winds down, a track that doesn't change much up to keep your interest enough but ends on a moderate bang.

Beat Heart. Beat is awfully long and lacking a bit in originality, but if it's the beginnings of a major overhaul, then I'm certainly looking forward to what comes next. Another record or two this band could be making some "editor's choice"-style lists; it's just doubtful this'll be the one that breaks them.

Rabbit In Headlights
The Explanation