My sincere apologies, dear readers. I used to be able to ramble on for a seemingly countless amount of words; but now business has picked up, so you’re getting shorter reviews, I’m afraid.
The first victim of this shorter style of music journalism, (perhaps that should’ve been in quotation marks), is solo, prominently-acoustic artist, Andy O’Brien- no relation to our chief editor, Kate.
Hailing from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, and presumably doing whatever’s popular in that quaint little part of the country, Andy has been gigging for a few years now, having honed his sound in his debut single.
From a quiet, ambiguous beginning, the song slowly grows. Stemming from initial uncertainty, the track builds from an airy acoustic number, to a fully-fledged ballad. There are few signs to remind you that this track is a first attempt at a studio recording; a clean and clear mix allows you to dissect each individual layer of the song- as lyrics melt away into a background of strings, it’s easy to believe that this tune could’ve stemmed from an established artist with a few EPs behind them. The tune translates very well to a purely acoustic number, too.
Furthermore, the song makes sure it doesn’t outstay its welcome. You get just enough time to savour each aspect of the track, before it meets a fitting end. A range of harmonious voices, a combination of clean and driven guitars, and well-structured strings all poise the song as a brilliant first effort.
For the arbitrary quarrels with the track, I only have two: While it’s a suitable length, tracks of this nature tend to be a bit longer, and I suppose this tradition shifted my expectations somewhat. I felt that a slightly longer tune may have invested listeners a bit more. Secondly, while structurally solid, some of the lyrics are very safe. ‘You Should’ve Called…’ is a traditional ballad, invested in love, loss and all that good stuff, and this is affirmed by the standard palette of lyrics. But this is due to my own stance on such tracks, as I’m always slightly hesitant towards songs that include a lyric along the lines of “this song”.
Don’t let my staunchly regressive lyrical attitudes get in the way of the quality of this track: All in all, it’s a cracking first effort from the Shrewsbury-based songwriter, although I’m not sure if we’d class Andy’s homeland as strictly Northern.
Keep an eye out on Andy’s SoundCloud for his upcoming material, and look out for his frequent, upcoming gigs.