Andrew Weiss and Friends create a joyous double album of ‘power pop-icana’.
When the passage of time has helped heal the worst memories and wounds of recent years, there will be an opportunity to reflect on those precious few silver linings that it also brought. One of these will undoubtedly be the secluded uninterrupted time for reflection and creativity, that gave artists the space for fresh inspiration. This album is a case in point.
Weiss, a talented and self-taught multi-instrumentalist, decided that he would apply his quarantine time to writing new songs. His daily discipline produced ninety-five finished songs by the end of 2020. Twenty-four of these songs appear on this album. He had intended to work to the standard twelve song album model, but decided all of the album’s twenty-four songs deserved to be heard, and they do.
A skilful songsmith, Weiss’ song writing has been compared favourably with that of McCartney, and Elvis Costello, and justifiably so. A keen observer of life he captures all of its ups and downs in his songs, from relationship break-ups and make-ups, to views on his home country. The album title is drawn from one of his own poems written in college. Whatever gloss sunglasses may give to the world, things still fade and die, “Sunglass and Ash”. His take on the yin and yang of life?
Describing his musical genre as power pop-icana, these are songs of a consistently high standard. He has said in the past that he draws inspiration from The Beatles, and it is evident on various tracks, both in song writing style and the layered guitars of ‘I Don’t Write the Headlines’ and others, or the voice and piano ballads like ‘The Details of the Events Surrounding December 9th’.
The album opens with one of the catchiest and happiest floor fillers that you will ever come across, ‘What’ve We Learned to Live With’. An anthem for our time, it reflects Weiss’ other main influence- the power pop of the 70’s and early 80’s. The album then progresses through further power pop numbers and reflective songs showcasing Weiss’ voice over a piano accompaniment, plus the more classic Americana of acoustic guitar and harmonica.
His music has previously been compared with the treasures emanating from Laurel Canyon in the 70’s, and it does have those joyful vibes, not just in style but in quality. The theme is continued in the look of the album, with a cover picture taken with 35mm film showing Weiss with various vintage guitars, amps, tape machine, and the typewriter that he uses to capture his songs.
Do not be surprised to see this album appearing on many ‘best of the year’ lists. It is well crafted and produced music. Whilst it draws influences from a rich past, it is very much for the here-and-now. It deserves a wide audience- go listen.