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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Edward Heppenstall

Parts That Hate Me

Review by Josh Turner

Take a Henning Pauly production and throw it in the oven. What comes out is sheet of well-baked Shrinky-Dinks severed into eleven elegant pieces. That's what this album is all about. Each song stands on its own with a strong hook and catchy melodies. A lot is compressed into each cut as no moment is wasted. None of the tracks go beyond a few minutes and there isn't an ounce of filler. It's debatable if this is truly prog or merely well-written pop. Yet, it absolutely has Henning Pauly appeal. In other words, it's very good music.

The big difference comes in the singer-songwriter department. Edward Heppenstall, an artist who sings in a couple places on Pauly's Chain.exe, is the exclusive voice that's featured on this album. In addition to the singing, the songwriting is pure Heppenstall as well. While Henning states he merely showed up, took finished songs, and just performed them for the recording, his markings are certainly carved within its molding. For the most part, this "is" a solo effort, but it's made to be much more through the help of one "skilled" producer.

Altogether, the album is a great collaboration of two talented minds. I'd log this along with the rest of this year's worthy listens. While these parts might hate him, they certainly suit me just fine.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
For Love For Now
The chorus is clever as it plays around with a scratchy harmony on the first take. Afterwards, it repeats without this abrasive audio. The remainder is more straight-ahead pop rock with a slight build-up on each of its layers. The song is a short and respectable setup for the many other goodies to follow.
The Act
Each of Ed's songs follow the simple formula of verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, verse, or something along those lines. You won't find a single epic on this disc. As for this one, it is some of the happiest blues I've ever heard, yet it still manages to have that smokehouse charm. At this restaurant, the ribs melt from the bone and the chicken is tender crisp. For the kiddies, there are home-style fries, thick milkshakes, and a prize with every happy meal. As added entertainment, there is a quick and quirky outtake in the middle. This is fun the whole family can enjoy.
Holding On To Ground
The instrumental portion of this track has the feel of something from Lenny Kravitz. The vocals, however, are more along the lines of Enchant. The bridge works wonderfully in the middle. Here we get a gaunt guitar solo, which is followed by a beefy bass. All the elements come into the fold for the finale. It closes with the holiest of holy choirs.
Share Them
This is good pop, but the premise is unpretentious. The bass repeatedly rides the scales with audible, discrete, and frothy bubbles. The guitar simply strums. The singing, however, is top shelf. A guitar solo in the middle breaks it up with a bold and spicy bridge. Edwards's wrap-up in the end is excellent. His singing here is similar to George Michael. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album due to its ample accessibilities.
Don't Take Me Down
This is similar to the last since it features a melody that's quite memorable. The harmonies overlap while the guitars show intense anxiety. The keyboards in the background provide us with a polite distraction. We also get another gratuitous solo by Henning. Even though the album has a surplus of guitar solos, you'll find yourself openly greeting each occurrence at the door.
Parts That Hate Me
It is interesting how this is put together. Despite what the title may infer, it has many attractive and adoring parts. There are instrumental breaks interlaced with simple vocal passages. It seems to gain momentum and complexity as it progresses along and it's quite listenable. While all the pieces on the album are consistent in quality and similar in style to one another, this might very well be the highlight of them all.
Stolen Moments
This is a simple ballad. It's basically Ed's voice accompanied by a piano. It's the perfect song to serenade a spouse. It's well-written, easy to learn, and exquisitely performed.
Why
I'd have to think Ed is influenced by Nick D' Virgilio. They share a lot of the same tendencies when it comes to their songwriting. This track is tainted with NDV's Karma. There is also a little of Mike Keneally's Dog in its blood. I like the chord progressions and syncopated beat. The guitar plays its part to perfection and the harmonies at the end will make you feel euphoric.
Three Times
This heaves and rolls like heavy waves against the shore. The beat is similar to Spock's Beard's rocking number "As Long As We Ride" off Octane. Ed's vocals embody an individual who is overly ecstatic.
How Long
Unlike the others tracks, this is mostly unplugged. Ed is accompanied by an acoustic guitar. Like some of Peter Gabriel's classic solo songs, it has tom toms and electronic gurgles in the background. Eventually a bass and some percussive elements fill up the emptiness and you guessed it, a guitar solo is squeezed in there too.
Somewhere
The last song is the most peaceful of the pieces. It's like driftwood rolling down the river. You watch it swim away and then eventually it's out of sight. Only then does your focus snap from this stimulus. In an album that has ballads, rock and pop, basically one that provides pleasure from many different angles, the ending is nothing short of cool refreshment from a scorching hot day. Parts That Hate Me is a great introduction to the songwriting, skills, and superb singing of Edward Heppenstall. Henning Pauly's guitars, production, and arrangement are credible contributions as well. Check out the album with the self-loathing title and corresponding song. Try it! You may actually like it.
 
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