This guy sounds so much like Elliott Smith. The vocals and the acousto-pop music are as close to Smith’s as one can get without copyright infringement. Even the lyrics are as similar as can be, dwelling on pain and sorrow, with moments on certain refrains being left to breathy whispers instead of outright singing or moaning, a la Smith. Ah, but Elliott tends to leave the alt country twang out of his melancholy. Not so with Mr. Beck. And Mr. Smith likes to keep a moderate tempo throughout his albums, whereas Howie likes to buck the monotony, adding beefier drums and strummier guitars here or there.
But alas, there are just too many sames, leaving a strong Elliott Smith aftertaste where there should be none. It’s a shame, because Howie Beck could have been the next Elliott Smith had Elliott Smith not already been that already.