What do you get when you cross powerful vocals, a little bit of ivory-tickling, brutally honest lyrics, loud guitars, and melodies that will stick with you for days to come? You would get any number of musicians out there, but you can expect one of them to be Howard Louis. Louis has been releasing music since 2006, beginning with a short, self-titled EP. For that release, he worked with fellow musicians from his college. Departing from a polished pop sound, Louis sat down in 2008 with a four track recorder and his piano to record the full length 'Self-Exhibit', a lo-fi collection of ideas and demos in their most raw form. Louis returns in 2010 with 'Cutting Cords', another full length release. He was joined by Chris Stever and Matt Martin as co-producers. The album features the work of those same musicians that worked on his debut EP. Says Louis, "I wanted to return to the initial sound of my first release and really have a polished collection of songs. I'd been living with some of them for about three years now as demos and I wanted to bring finished versions of some of them to the table." Cutting Cords may be heavy on self-deprecation and life evaluations, but Louis makes it a fun ride. The opening track is "Comin' Round", a song about relationship paranoia, offers a driving beat and an insanely catchy chorus that gives the album one hell of a start. "Do It Again" follows with a somber piano introduction that explodes into a powerful pop anthem. "Not The Best Day Had By A Human" is perhaps the most vicious track on the album, starting with ethereal synth pads and piano before segueing into a biting, electric guitar-driven chorus. Things change with "Hatchet", an emotional piano/strings ballad that reflects on self-destruction. "The Mood" is a bare, acapella track that focuses on lack of interests in both hobbies and general life. The most complex arrangement is "Revolutionary Idiot Society", a samba-tinged tune about a dumbed-down group of individuals that shifts into a chorus that wouldn't sound out of place at your local carnival. It's really just another flavor of the extremely varied sounds, melodies, and ideas found on 'Cutting Cords'.