Prepare to wash all your sins away at Thalia Hall with the solemn storyteller’s brand new set of songs.
Andy Shauf’s music tells familiar stories of post-breakup blues with a blissful melancholy that few are capable of. Four years after the release of his highly acclaimed album The Party, the humble host is back with his latest full-length release titled The Neon Skyline.
The 11 affecting tracks of The Neon Skyline invite you into Shauf’s colorful fiction as you follow the narrator into a bar, only to find his old flame is in town. The rest of the songs carry you through the throes of a past relationship with artful extractions of their interactions laced with poetic imagery.
His style has steadily evolved, from his days as a Christian pop-punk drummer, into a rich, relatable narration of adulthood. With this album, there’s a clear departure from the usual piano compositions opting for guitar work that creates a cohesive simplicity. The erratic emotions of a dissolved relationship are explored through jazzy overtones or reflected by the experimental reverb in “Changer”.
The long wait can be forgiven when you consider the entire album was written, performed, arranged, and produced by the artist himself. The initial concept began with 50 songs all ending up at a bar, before resolving itself into this succinct tale that blurs the lines between poetry, music, and screenwriting.
Perhaps the vast prairie setting of Saskatchewan, from where he hails, has given Shauf the imaginative space to cultivate his reflective poetry steeped in human experience.
In a nutshell, The Neon Skyline feels like the casual musings you might share with an old friend in the small hours of the morning and you’d be a damn fool not to join this conversation. The tour comes to his Chicago fans on Saturday, March 7.
Andy Shauf, Thalia Hall, March 7, 2020.
Feature image: The Neon Skyline Cover Artwork courtesy of ANTI-