While you listen to the likes of The Party – the latest album from Andy Shauf – you could easily begin to find yourself persuaded that the concept of time travel is very real indeed as Shauf is so readily able to transport you decades into the past; to a more simple, relaxed and colourful time.
As The Party opens with The Magician we are promptly reminded that Shauf has one of the most unique and fascinating voices on the folk circuit today that will leave you hanging on his every word. High and soft with a tender passion residing deep within it, his voice is leant an extra eager friendliness by his familial Canadian lilt. For the most part it’s akin to listening to the songs of an old friend you’ve not seen in years. This warmth and familiarity is a large part of the charm that his rich voice possesses and is ideal with his unique brand of time-travelling folk.
Shauf’s music is absolutely wonderful; bouncy, resonant and jubilant without ever becoming overexcited. It is a music that transports you back to the late 70s and early 80s as it paints a musical portrait that is rich, vivid and charismatic. Shauf is a true artist in every sense of the word as his music gives you flashes of times gone by, like he’s painting landscapes before your very eyes and doing so without ever lifting a brush. His implements are the joyous guitar tunes he plays, the vastly underrated clarinet, emotive organs, dancing piano scores and thrumbling double bass and cellos. He takes a vast collection of instruments and creates a series of remarkable, affable and addictive songs.
His unique sense of time-travelling music aside, The Party is a wonderfully constructed album that has been carefully crafted at every twist and turn to create a collection of feel-good songs that will leave you smiling from ear to ear. That’s not to say that they are all feel-good topics however; songs such as Alexander All Alone have a touchingly morbid side to them but they are presented with a rocked up folk twinge that makes for a remarkably addictive song. No matter what his topic, there is a whimsical and enchanting feeling to all of Shauf’s work that is impossible to ignore.
Back when his debut feature album, The Bearer of Bad News came out we were astoundingly impressed with Shauf and with the knowledge that it is so difficult to surpass such an album it is a pleasure to say that he has without a doubt done so. The Party is a jovial, wonderful and encapsulating album, ideally set to become the soundtrack to your summer.
Watch the fantastic video ‘The Magician’
For more info please visit http://www.andyshauf.com/
Review by Joe Knipe