While an artist can’t replicate what they did in their last album.
Case in point for Andy Shauf in The Neon Skyline which is the follow-up for the massively successful The Party that came out in 2016.
The album where he sets a familiar scene of inviting a friend for beers on the opening title track:
“I said, ‘Come to the Skyline, I’ll be washing my sins away.‘ He just laughed, said ‘I’ll be late, you know how I can be.'”
The LP’s 11 interconnected tracks follow a simple plot: the narrator goes to his neighborhood dive, finds out his ex is back in town, and she eventually shows up. While its overarching narrative is riveting, the real thrill of the album comes from how Shauf finds the humanity and humor in a typical night out and the ashes of a past relationship.
For The Neon Skyline, Shauf chose to start each composition on guitar instead of his usual piano. He says, “I wanted to be able to sit down and play each song with just a guitar without having to rely on some sort of a clever arrangement to make it whole.”
The resulting album finds its immediacy in simplicity.
While the arrangements on folksy “The Moon” are unfussy and song-centered like the best Gordon Lightfoot offerings, his drive to experiment is still obvious.
This is especially so on the unmoored relationship autopsy “Thirteen Hours,” which boasts an arrangement that’s both jazzy and adventurous.
This album has more of an upbeat guitar and mellow drum feel and vibe.
Miss the intimate and moody vibes from the Party like Quite Like You and Twist Your Ankles.
This is what makes Andy so unique and take on risks.
- The Neon Skyline
- Where Are You Judy
- Thirteen Hours
- Things I Do
- Try Again