Drew & The Medicinal Pen

Drew and the Medicinal Pen - Heavy Head
“Heavy Head”

I once played a gig at some long-forgotten dive bar in Williamsburg and met a kid on the bill named Drew Henkle. He wasn’t even legal yet and shouldn’t have been allowed in the bar, as I recall. But I only had to hear him play once to know I’d be hearing from him again.

Fast forward a few years and that kid is now the force behind Drew & The Medicinal Pen, darlings of DIY Brooklyn lofts and veterans of several national tours. The group’s second album, Heavy Head, triumps as a masterpiece of low-cost (but not lo-fi) DIY recording; this album has a lovely, elegant sound, peppered with strings, xylophone, acoustic guitars, even what sounds like a toy piano.

Drew’s engaging vocals instantly segue from intimate breathy whispers to bratty shouts, and the man knows how to write a melody. His lyrics can be by turns clever, confessional, romantic, sexy, and ironic; when he strips things down to vocals and acoustic guitar on the playful “Waiting Song,” it sounds like he’s playing in your living room.

But that’s followed immediately by the orchestral “Tomorrow Will Make It Up,” a delicious pop song with ginchy backup vocals and a beautiful melody line played on a violin. The talent here is abundant, palpable, and largely undiscovered. You guys really need to fix that.