By Kaelen Bell February 10, There is a formula to what Andy Shauf does. His newest record, the relationship-dissecting song-cycle The Neon Skyline , is his most precise yet, finding new contours in his writing and unearthing new depths of colour. Shauf remains dedicated to his conceptual frameworks.
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The Neon Skyline , the new album by Canadian singer-songwriter Andy Shauf , takes place over one night in a bar in downtown Toronto. Those sins, his role in the demise of a relationship with a woman called Judy, are then explored in real time over the next 10 songs. The album is Shauf's fifth solo record, and his second, after 's The Party , to inhabit the lives of fictional characters over the course of a single evening. This prompts some memories, good and bad, which Shauf explores in flashback scenes across Neon Skyline. You get the feeling the narrator has some regrets. What should have been a moment of comfort and hand-holding turns into an argument, because Judy was only crossing the street to give money to a cab driver the narrator had, in her view, not properly tipped. Then Judy finally shows up at the bar. He reaches for her hand and she says, ' you know it can't be like that '.
January 2nd by Pat McGuire. Throughout the long and varied history of revelry, there have been a handful of celebratory gatherings so raucous and rambunctious, elaborate and elegant, or just plain weird enough to warrant their retelling in the form of epic verse, film, or song. Now, his subtle and gorgeous tunes capture the characters, ebbs, and ending of a run-of-the-mill suburban fete with all the mature songwriting sensibility of Harry Nilsson or Randy Newman and the sharp eye of a wizened wallflower enjoying a cigarette break. Here, Shauf speaks about the various favors, themes, and machines that make up his Party. When I decided to make the album with the running theme of a party, I was having trouble coming up with ideas for things that would happen at one. So me and my friends got together in the garage and smoked cigarettes and drank beers and thought about what would happen at a party. I think I always outlast the party a little bit. I like the calm afterwards.
Few artists are storytellers as deft and disarmingly observational as Andy Shauf. The Toronto-based, Saskatchewan-raised musician's songs unfold like short fiction: they're densely layered with colorful characters and a rich emotional depth. 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. I wanted to have a more cohesive story," says Shauf. Where the concept of The Party revealed itself midway through the writing process, he knew the story he wanted to tell on The Neon Skyline from the start. These songs are fictional but it's not too far off from where my life was," Shauf explains. Like he's done throughout his career, Shauf wrote, performed, arranged, and produced every song on The Neon Skyline , this time at his new studio space in the west end of Toronto.