Andy Shauf

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Darker Days (2009), 5/10
The Bearer of Bad News (2012), 5.5/10
The Party (2016), 6/10
The Neon Skyline (2020), 5.5/10

Canadian singer-songwriter Andy Shauf debuted with the album Darker Days (2009), followed by the EPs Waiting for the Sun to Leave (2010) and Sam Jones Feeds His Demons (2012), and by the second album The Bearer of Bad News (2012). After the success of his single Jenny Come Home (2015), Shauf crafted two concept albums around a similar topic: a single night of drinking with friends at a bar. The songs of The Party (2016) are humble and polite, often whispered, accompanied by a discreet piano and occasional bursts of chamber counterpoint. The pace is lethargic and the melodies are trivial. The Beatles-ian Begin Again, the Eagles-ian Eyes Of Them All and especially the surreal To You feel like masterpieces amid so much blandness. When the marimba introduces the rocking Quite Like You, it feels like a breath of fresh air. The scope of the album is ambitious, but it would take higher musical skills to fully deliver on the premise. The Neon Skyline (2020) is similar to a rock opera in that it tells a story, but too many songs are bland and weak.
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