Theo Katzman: Heartbreak Hits
While Theo Katzman is still making his name as the drummer and guitarist of the funk/fusion band Vulfpeck, he’s also already ventured into solo realms that have found him exercising his ambitions. A follow-up to his initial individual outing, 2011’s Romance Without Finance, Heartbreak Hits is a self-described set of musings about “loss and letdown…a combination of personal vulnerability and imaginative songcraft.” Nevertheless, based on its upbeat pop approach, it’s hardly the melancholy set of songs that description might otherwise imply. “Hard Work,” “As the Romans Do” and “Break Up Together” may focus on circumstance, but their tone and treatment are practically giddy, with a sheen and sparkle that rock radio stations might find hard to resist. With Katzman moving between guitar, drums and percussion, he’s largely responsible for that serendipitous sound. However co-producer Tyler Duncan, who recorded and mixed the sessions, can also take credit for the buoyant and bubbly results. There’s not a single tune here that doesn’t form an instant impression, and given Katzman’s indie inclinations, certain songs—“Good to Be Alone” and “My 1-Bedroom” in particular—are able to temper that gleeful sound with a more pensive perspective. So while the subjects of wrecked romance, heartbreak and heartache reside just below the surface, Heartbreak Hits also serves as a reminder that for all the drama and despair that accompany those feelings, there’s always a chance for escape through a song.