Andy Shauf exudes awkwardness. He’s short, skinny, and his thick Saskatchewanian accent permeates his albums and his performances on stage. But, Andy Shauf is resilient. His timid persona works to his advantage and has become the inspiration for his latest album, The Party. The three singles he has released are beautifully constructed and orchestrated, enveloping the listener in a grandiose sound none would have expected from Shauf’s minute stature.
“Jenny Come Home”, the first single off of The Party, was released in October 2015. Upon the single’s release, its quick tempo and upbeat sound immediately evoked an unfamiliar emotion in Shauf’s dedicated fans – joviality. Shauf’s most recent album, aptly named The Bearer Of Bad News (2015), was strikingly gloomy. Thus, “Jenny Come Home” came largely as a surprise to his audience who had grown fond of his melancholic tone. However, the song’s somber lyrics remain in familiar territory, albeit contrasted with fresh, playful instrumentation.
In March 2016, Shauf released his second single, “The Magician”. Its complex arrangement features a variety of instruments, from glistening pianos to piercing violins. Dual clarinets – a staple in Shauf’s music – make an appearance as well. The whirling, dynamic instrumental variation evokes an ethereal feeling, eventually collapsing onto a sharp electric guitar riff that closes the song. “The Magician” is grand, and is vastly different from his older, simpler songs. With this track, Andy Shauf ushers in an unabashedly bolder stage in his career.
Finally, “The Worst In You” was released in April 2016 as the third single off of The Party. This song features an array of instruments similar to “The Magician”; however, the violins, along with the electric guitars, are far less biting. Shauf’s skillful blend of instrumentation contributes to a simple and enjoyable listening experience. In this song, no specific instrument protrudes as the violins did on “The Magician” – rather, they work together to create a cohesive, relaxed piece.
Andy Shauf is not afraid to display his introverted personality. On his new record he takes ambitious risks that we had yet to see from him, without detracting from his masterful storytelling.