As fate willed it, Andy Shauf wrote his album on the pandemic in 2018. Let me explain: artists from top to bottom around the world have taken shelter, stuck in the release of isolation of 2020, watching an audience buying all they could. be sent to them the next day by Amazon. Shauf, whose critically acclaimed tour in support of The neon skyline, was cut short by Covid, understood it very early on. He only had to dig in his coffers.

In 2018, Andy Shauf was writing songs, performing with arrangements, moving pieces of songs. About 50 or more, in a small tape recorder. He wasn’t sure that the stories that would eventually become The neon skyline, her 2020 soft rock warm blanket, which helped remove all the noise brought in that year, was the way to go. He had pieces of these other ideas. Judy, the ex who continues to blow up the fuzzy little world of our unfortunate protagonist, had a side story outside of that night at the bar. Again, in the end, Judy ends up shooting the soccer ball at our Charlie Brown-style protagonist, as he gazes up at the blue sky above, his back talking fiercely to his brain, and the autumn leaves. moving wistfully over her body. You can almost see him crack a well-deserved smile as an Andy Shauf melody swirls through his pea head.

Savages, the new version of the Toronto singer-songwriter raised in Bienfait, Sask., is a bit of a go-between. On the one hand, it’s a product for sale as he kicks off his 2021 North American tour. But it’s also a glimpse of a contemporary singer-songwriter taking off. Chosen from many of the many workouts that Shauf played with in 2018, these fleshy sketches, delivered as raw basement tape, bring us even closer to the addictive magic of the twisted wire that makes Shauf’s flawed characters even more so. humans.

On “Spanish on the Beach,” he creates a fun story about a couple’s time on an all-inclusive vacation, using the idea of ​​a language barrier as a metaphor for the early stages of communication breakdown. It ends with the narrator, our buddy who can’t get out of his way, envisioning an imagined scenario in which he proposes to burst into song, musical theater style, with the resort’s house group, you guessed it, Judy . The neon skylinethe progress of the plot. “It’s the same theme that the story ended up being at Skyline, but the narrator’s life is kinda fueled by alcohol,” Shauf explains on the song. “And this vacation is kind of like the first step on the road to destruction.”

Savages– whose cover is even sort of an incomplete sketch – arrives with Magic Andy playing all the instruments, making adjustments without regard to the moment, recording all the impulses in a small tape recorder, keeping that Saskatchewan characteristic up front , blindly. seeing and without excuse. Just like we need it.

These are not mediocre arrangements by far. Nine vignettes in 27 minutes, presented in their humble “press play and hit it” mode, entitle us to the results of these endless workouts. First of all, look at those reed antlers, those simple drums, those weird counters, and those jazzy towers. Hearing his songs reduced to a minimum not only reveals how engaging songwriter Shauf is, but these asides also work like tiny plays you’ll find on a stage, atop a Wes Anderson movie. “Jaywalker”, a story of walking through life without looking to the future, filled with magical melodies, catchy lyrics and earworm atmospheres – the band’s sharpest track – with vaporous atmospheres.

Like the basketball players who stay in the stinky gym and are content to play ball or run to nine on a hard outdoor court in 12 hours, training to move, talking to the competition and offering instant progress, Savages allows us to peek behind the curtain and sit in awe of Shauf’s restrained magic.


Label: Anti-

Year: 2021


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Andy Shauf Wilds Reviews

Jean-Paul Frisson

John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to Treble since 2018. His work as a seasoned music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in The Wire, 48 Hills, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.