Andy Shauf – Darker Days Andy Shauf – Darker Days

Andy Shauf - Darker Days

Andy Shauf - Darker Days

I like to think I can normally feel someone’s age through their music. Sometimes in an artist’s voice, their cadence, or the subject matter. And sometimes it’s intangible. The point is maturity has a way of coming through in music. It’s the reason that it’s so rare to hear good blues by anyone considered youthful, or punk from kids who grew up in the suburbs. Like rapid waters smoothing out a rock over time, normally life has to abuse a musician thoroughly before any of music indented to be soulful takes on the weight of sincerity.

Andy Shauf is 21, and some of the songs off Darker Days (street date 5-19-09 on P is for Panda) took form years before the 2009 release. For an artist that young to write songs that so deftly articulate the lows of an oft cruel world is uncommon. To be able to play those morose themes against those of being young and in love… is impressive.

Darker Days is presented as a compilation of 11 of Andy’s favorite moments from his demo collection. As you might expect with any compilation of tracks recorded over an extended period of time the consistency of an album is not there. Parts of this release fit very nicely into the booming indie-folk genre. Songs like “Your Heart” and “The Greatest Moments” sound like they were laid down freshly in a studio, complete with radio friendly hooks, and carefree bounce. Although those lighter tracks will probably get more play time than the others, they aren’t where Andy’s talent really pokes through. Channeling the sounds of Nick Drake, early Neil Young, and more recently Elliott Smith, and Iron and Wine, tracks like, “Gone”, “The Darker Night”, and the finale, “Give Me Words” are the ones that will softly burrow themselves in your ears.

Andy Shauf’s Darker Days really seems like a prelude to something special. Andy already demonstrates plenty of musical talent as he played every instrument on this record, including some mandolin, banjo, and xylophone. Once Andy records a full album within a shorter period of time, I believe a more congruent theme will naturally present itself; when that happens count me in. In the mean time Darker Days is very nice album that won’t likely disappoint.

1. Your Heart
2. Crushes
3. You Remind Me
4. In Town
5. Gone
6. The Darker Nights
7. The Greatest Moments
8. Let’s Be
9. Were You In Love With Me
10. How Long
11. Give Me Words

Andy Shauf - Darker Days , reviewed by Big Ben on 2009-05-13T23:35:24-07:00 rating 3.7 out of 5

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