Formerly Orange Television, Howard Finds Compelling New Sound on ‘Religion’

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Photo by Shervin Lainez

After scrapping around western Massachusetts for a few years as Orange Television, singer and guitarist Howard Feibusch and bassist Myles Heff moved to Brooklyn, where they changed their name and shed their grunge-y sound. “Religion,” their debut as Howard (with drummer Chris Holdridge and keyboard player and guitarist Alex Chakour), showcases a welcome new direction.

The songs on “Religion” blend elements of understated psychedelia, knotty alt-rock and washes of synthesizers. An electro rhythm tethers roaring guitar and keyboards on “Fool,” while “Song About Something” broods over an ebb-and-flow guitar vamp, a skittering beat and Feibusch’s moaning vocals. The title track builds on a foundation of acoustic guitar as Feibusch sings a ghostly melody, the merest hint of an aching edge in his voice. With its intertwining guitars and hazy vocals soaked in reverb, “Spelled Out” evokes 1970s folk-rock, an impression reinforced by the way album closer “A Tale” unfolds into a lush beards-and-ponchos pastorale.

Howard is at its best on songs like those, and on “Money Can’t Buy,” which has already piled up nearly 1.5 million plays on Spotify. Small wonder: It’s easily the catchiest song on “Religion,” with a looped guitar part that circles around subtle electronic claps and a well-defined vocal melody from Feibusch. It’s tuneful and deceptively simple, as well as an excellent way to discover the promising new band that has emerged from the shadows of projects past.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *