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Articles Home » 1988 Articles » Heinz Sight - 1988 A Face In The Crowd
Heinz Sight - 1988 A Face In The Crowd

ARTIST: Heinz Sight
ALBUM: A Face In The Crowd
LABEL: Studio 9 Records
YEAR: 1988


LINEUP: Vince Heinz - vocals, guitars, keyboards * Tad Bley - bass * Pete Vredenburgh - drums, percussion * Chuck Brierton - lead guitar

Roger Ward - bass guitar, lead guitar, violins * Paul Layne - vocals * Rod Van Sandt - lead guitar * Bux Da Hoota - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Jerkin' Me Around * 02 All That's Left * 03 A Face In The Crowd * 04 Cemetery * 05 Lullaby * 06 Everlasting * 07 Without Your Love * 08 Two Ships * 09 On The Downside * 10 Mad About You * 11 Do

Here is a thought, have you ever pushed yourself to achieve a real goal, maybe it was passing a qualification, running 10 miles or actually recording your own songs and putting them to vinyl. Well that last goal is something the chaps who made up Heinz Sight were able to do and let's face it, that's more of an exciting achievement than the first two examples I gave. I have seen this album recently knocking around eBay and selling for quite a high price, nothing excessive but nevertheless it may have pricked the interest of a number of collectors. Nothing wrong in that but maybe the buyers aren't always getting what they expect with the various descriptions that have been placed in the adverts. For instance here is a selection.. 'hard rock, aor lp' or more imaginatively 'very rare aor/pomp' and 'sounds like Def Leppard, Cannata'.. and just goes to show I can be taken in with 'cool AOR find here, rare'. While I can concur with the rarity value, I am not entirely convinced with the various AOR, pomp and Cannata descriptions. Anyway, acting like an AOR public information bureau I thought it might be useful to discuss this album. Well what else do I know about the group, honesty not a lot, apart from the fact that the band members hail from the Central/Southwest Illinois region, and from the inserts they seemed to enjoy the recording of the album and put their collective energies into it.

The Songs
Well, yes if you hear the first couple of tunes you feel you have landed on a beautiful island full of AOR delights. The swarm of keyboards and guitar heights that arrive with the opener, 'Jerkin Me Around', you can detect why some sellers got the wrong end of the stick and fell under the spell. On this opening Vince Heinz even provides a worthy impression of White Lion's, Mike Tramp. It's a good opening and I have quite warmed to its melodic mutterings. Much the same can be said about the second track, 'All That's Left', with its nice AOR opening and fluent guitaring. Of course Vince Heinz voice has slight limitations, but he seems to be aware of them and doesn't stretch them. Wavering between Stevie Nicks without the accent and REO's Kevin Cronin. Again a good platform, with potential and has the makings of a good album. With the title track the vocalist duties are passed to Paul Layne, which provides a change of pace and a change of style which won't always sit comfortably with all listeners. With the somewhat strangely named, 'Cemetery' they seem to have swung into the realms of an 80's hi tech pop band. Obviously they were a band looking to explore a number of different directions and this is also shown with 'Lullaby'. Here we find Heinz following the same lines as Scritti Politti singer Green Gartside (real name Paul Strohmeyer). The song seems to follow a child's lullaby, so not the most rock oriented lyrics I've ever heard. There are snippets of quality in the following tracks with the band having the capability to provide some good moments. It's just that they don't always hit the mark in terms of what a melodic rock listener would be striving for. Everlasting' starts strongly with its a guitar opening coming from The Skids classic, 'Into The Valley', however bearing in the mind the relative length of the song, just clocking in at over the 2 minute mark it fails to develop in its structure. The same can be said of 'Without Your Love' and although having a nice flurry of keyboards, the vocal style chosen is more of a New Romantic band so personally speaking not to my liking. With 'Two Ships' they go for an attempt at a 70's Journey style song, with a varying degree of success. 'On The Downside' walks a tightrope between many different styles and sees the band managing well to keep their balance. It does display a nice couple of verses and a memorable chorus, probably one of the most successful on the album. With 'Mad About You' they have captured a number of different influences that stretch from the good being Men At Work (possible likeness to 'It's A Mistake') to the less accepted music style of the Pet Shop Boys. Here they have thrown everything into the kitchen sink, be it, the aforementioned PSB backing vocals, weird keyboards and crowd chants, in comparison it makes The Mars Volta sound basic.

In Summary
So is Heinz Sight an AOR, pomp classic? Well not really, but they do provide a selection of tunes criss-crossing over many genres without always finding a clear base to build from. It's an album that has a quaintness to some of the tracks which I enjoy but there are other obscure records, which are probably more appropriate to the pomp genre which will be higher on your list than this one. Although it is still a nice curiosity. A brave attempt and what should be remembered when considering albums like this, is best summed up in the nice postscript printed on the bottom of the sleeve, summarising, at least their 'dreams become reality' with the release of this album.

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#1 | gdazegod on December 18 2009 03:24:08
Excuse the poor quality album cover image. Because this LP is so rare, there is very little on the Internet about it. Hopefully we might redress that, since we've made contact with Pete Vredenburgh. Unfortunately though, Vince Heinz has since passed away, Feb 17th 2008, aged 52.
#2 | PeterVred on December 19 2009 14:09:16
Hi gdazegod,
I enjoyed the read. It is probably very accurate, although, I wouldn't know about the influences, as I am on the inside. The only connection I could make there was Journey for Two Ships. From the drumming standpoint, that was just what I had in mind. The other bands, I'd never heard of. I'm a Beatle fan. Vince rarely listened to music in the time I knew him...only his own music that was in his head. He tended to reject influences that I brought to the project. And in hindsight, that was surely the best thing.

Anyway, thanks much for giving our record so much thought, it is appreciated. I intend to put up some cover art when possible.
#3 | PeterVred on December 19 2009 15:44:30

If interested, I have the outtakes from the Face In The Crowd album, the more recent compositions that didn't make the record. They had to be left off the record as only so many minutes could fit on a vinyl LP.

These songs were not remixed and "modernized" at the Recording Workshop in Chillicothe, Oh. These are the studio demo mixes. I like the more up close and personal, if imperfect, sound of these songs.

"Only Love" is an outstanding tune with the odd 5/4 bars in the bridge section. Tad's idea, he is such a great bass player.

"Julieanne" is a song Vince wrote about my wife, who often had to put up with me being in the studio all night long. We still have a standing joke about "studio time" versus real time. Vince would call around 5pm and say "I need an hour or two in the studio". We would joke that 3-6 hrs was more likely.

One thing that I felt was a downfall to the album was the fact that, near the end of production, we tended to over think things, and kept changing parts, which, to me, took away from the spontaneity of the ideas. Quite a few of the best bits are no longer part of the songs. "Lullaby" was one that suffered from this.

The other downfall for me personally was that, when tracking the drums along with Vince's first acoustic guitar track, I never really *knew* the song at that point. Later, when all the tracks had been added, I usually wished I'd played something else. But there again, is the second guessing, maybe it's best that the parts were a bit rough but spontaneous.
#4 | gdazegod on December 19 2009 16:36:45
Pete, I put the link behind some [hide] tags, so that only members can see them, not the public. We use the 'Hide2' feature, when we are writing comments for this purpose. Cheers!
#5 | englandashes on December 21 2009 14:18:00
Excellent detective work George, for tracking them down.

Lot's of good information from Pete, many thanks.
#6 | mckagan on January 09 2010 17:01:10
the poor quality album cover image. Because this LP is so rare,...

23$ on e-bay
#7 | mckagan on January 09 2010 17:02:22
PeterVred . many thanks for album and outtakes
#8 | PeterVred on April 29 2011 13:24:06
Guys...if anyone is watching this thread anymore, here is a link to a better picture of the album cover on my website. an email from Greece, they say the album is getting internet radio airplay over there as a part of an 80's revival.

#9 | gdazegod on April 30 2011 02:43:59
Thanks Peter. Getting airplay in Greece? Woah.. I've also updated the image/album cover for this review. Cheers.
#10 | super80boy on August 27 2017 20:23:48
I recently broke this album out for another 're-discovery' spin, as it's been close to a decade since I heard it. I'd agree that the band maneuvers through a variety of sounds and styles, but I really enjoyed it. The opening 'Jerkin Me Around' has a progressive feel with the added sound effects. The title song is a competent ballad with crisp melodic arrangements and the airy 'Lullaby' takes it up a notch with ballad creativity. The driving 'Everlasting' is an album standout as well as the male/female vocal interplay on 'On The Downside'. You get some pomp action in 'Without Your Love' as well as a decent guitar riff. The album insert (although black and white) has a large collage of band pictures, which is a nice touch for this obscure private press.
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