The Bearer of Bad News – the debut album from Andy Shauf, boasts a simple, lyrical and melody-based arrangement that completes his sound palette beautifully.
Sitting upon a rooftop bar in downtown LA, enjoying a Mezcal-based cocktail in a breezy wind under the burning sun, I listen to Shauf’s album. As astonishingly dark as it is sumptuous, I enjoy the tender husky voice of the self-taught multi instrumentalist from Canada.
Not something I would expect to listen to in this setting, The Bearer of Bad News successfully enraptures my senses. Shauf’s softly strummed guitars and damped drums – sometimes accompanied by clarinet, sometimes by piano - takes him much further than the recent singer-songwriter pack.
Citing Neil Young as an influence, his lyrical arrangement in Hometown Hero and I’m Not Falling Asleep, which talk about self-doubt and loss, sounds haunting yet liberating. Some have compared him to the likes of Sufjan Stevens and the recently talked about Tobias Jesso Jr.
Written over four years, this album deserves much more attention than it has so far received. With Shauf performing at SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas and The Great Escape festival in Brighton in May, hopefully The Bearer of Bad News will gather increasing popularity among its listeners.
According to a press release published by the album’s label, Tender Loving Empire: “The album was crafted on his grandfather’s timeworn guitar and heavily influenced by the aforementioned - and newly learned - clarinet, which was a Christmas gift from family.”
The press release then goes on to explain that: “In spite of his modest recording setup, Shauf has imbued [The Bearer of Bad News] with an enduring warmth and redolence that lingers long after the album ends, a skill which earned him praise across Canada and a growing audience abroad.”
[The Bearer of Bad News will be out in the UK on 4th May 2015.]
Words: Dimas Bian
Image Source: Andy Shauf