Strange that in the curious case of Nick Heyward, I've discovered his gift in reverse. If you rewind to 1993 and the release of the single "Kite," you'd find some pretty geeky specimens doing white crosses, bong hits, and playing that in tandem with In Utero at the Vandalia house. Hard to believe that, in an era when we couldn't get enough of Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, this proper waif from London town could write a little sappy number like "Kite" and win us over unwillingly. This might have actually been our most played single that year. It is these days. Purely Beatles-esque, but a reminder that in England, grunge was only a distraction to pop melody.
Past the millenium I became obsessed with '80s music again, the sounds of a second-grade boombox and John Hughes films no doubt. I discovered Pelican West, by Heyward's claim to fame, Haricut 100. If you go back you'll love it, even beyond "Love Plus On." (Seriously, go back and listen). A shame a band like Vampire Weekend get compared to them, because this album is kind of brilliant and disposable all at once. VW should be grateful.
And now, the album above has logged a lot of time on the turntable upon finding it. North of a Miracle was released as Heyward's first solo album, at the same time that Pelican West was climbing up the charts. Heyward left the band before that record was even released, opting for adulthood early. North of a Miracle is a fairly hushed affair, full of lush arrangements and almost jazzy smoothness, but never lacking in pop sensibility, fans of Prefab Sprout should attend. "Whistle Down the Wind" will have you wishing for 120 Minutes again, or at least that episode of Top of the Pops.