Howard – the project led by Brooklyn’s HowardFeibusch – returns with two new singles, “Saturn Return” b/w “Modern Love,”out today via thing we like. Co-produced by band member AlexChakour, who’s also spent time between releases performing with BrittanyHoward and the Dap-Kings, these two new songs were written and recorded over the last few years. The new music sees the band stepping away from the gently psychedelic chamber-pop of its predecessor, 2018’s acclaimed TogetherAlone, and marks Howard’s latest artistic evolution, with classic-sounding songwriting and a newly linear embrace of melodic and musical structures.
The new stylistic direction showcased on these two songs was partially informed by Feibusch’s work composing music for TV shows over the last two and a half years — a creative endeavor that’s included work contributed to documentaries on David Cassidy and John F. Kennedy Jr. for A&E’s biography series. “I’ve been thinking differently about instrumentation and been forced to break out of my box,” Feibusch states about how working in a slightly different musical medium has expanded his own artistic approach — and, in a way, forced him to think smaller. “It informed the music I’ve written, because composing for TV needs to be so lush that I craved a more core aesthetic in my own music. For these songs, I tried to be more specific with my sound palette.”
“I had these grooves and production ideas, but it took me a while to flesh these out into whole songs,” Feibusch explains regarding the creative process behind them. Inspired by the cinematic expansiveness of Air, “Saturn Return” plays on the horoscopical concept referenced in the song’s title, expanded to fit the existential crises faced by the creative mind. “It’s a do-or-die moment for a lot of people,” Feibusch explains. “Being a musician and having done it for ten years at this point, it’s a weird age to say to yourself, ‘Should I still be doing this?’ I was influenced by those themes and felt like I made it more universal — talking about people whose lives are on the payroll, stuck as cogs in a machine.”
The sparkling piano-driven pop of ‘Modern Love’ takes cues from the Beatles’ WhiteAlbum-era songwriting approach as well as production hints from more modern psychedelia, like Spiritualize’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.
“The band as a whole is maturing and finding its groove,” he continues while discussing the future direction that the singles represent as a whole. “We’ve always searched in a way that I’m proud of. There’s always been musical exploration, even as we’ve sometimes come back to the same sounds.” And this latest release from Howard is ample proof that the journey has just begun.