ANDY SCHAUF – ” Wilds “

Posted: November 7, 2021 in MUSIC

Shauf’s ability to weave a narrative into a song or album remains almost unmatched, and although I agree that these songs are a little underbaked individually, 

Whether or not it’s the intention of the creator, art can show us the rawest version of ourselves. It can peel back the layers and have us looking deeper in the mirror, past the imperfections of our reflection. Such was the case with Saskatchewan-born musician Andy Shauf and his 2020 album “The Neon Skyline”. For his fifth record, the prolific storyteller built a concept album around a local bar and a group of friends. His detailed writing created a world that was fictional yet lifelike—a commonplace background fleshed out with the too-familiar cringe scenario of encountering an ex on a night out. But chatting with Shauf it’s clear that he’s still navigating his own role within these lyrics. “I hope that people don’t think I’m narrating as myself—it’s essentially just me processing certain things and using my own lens as the filter for a reaction,” he says. “It’s me picturing myself in those shoes.”

A few weeks ago, Shauf released the follow-up to “Skyline”, which is an extension of that world. Written during the same period, “Wilds” is a batch of songs that Shauf escaped into in order to return to the concept on “Skyline”. Whereas the latter gave us a detailed look at the tension of running into an ex lover, “Wilds” is a bit less specifically focused. It both zooms in on the character of the ex, Judy, and gives a deeper context for why the main relationship from “Skyline” failed. Released the same week it was announced, “Wilds” is rawer and off the cuff. It was recorded on a small tape machine in Shauf’s Toronto studio. The vocals are fuzzier and the arrangements are less ambitious. 

But it’s not only the lo-fi compositions from “Wilds” that give us the sense that Shauf is peeling back the layers a bit. This nine-track album is closing out a period that Shauf describes as “feeling pretty lost.” And it wasn’t his initial plan to expose the similarities between this narrative’s chaos and his own life. He sounds secure but still a little apprehensive of the intense vulnerability. “With a year and a half to think on, I came to the conclusion that “Skyline” wasn’t really how I wanted to leave that period of my life.” I comment that his tone suggests he’s in a much better place. “I’ve had a lot of time over this lockdown period to think and assess how my life’s been going,” he says. “I’ve started in a new direction. It’s positive. Coinciding with this release of “Wilds” and feeling like it’s time to put some of this shit behind.”

Pleased to announce that my new 9-song collection called “Wilds” is out digitally this Friday Sept 24th on ANTI- / Arts & Crafts. The album was recorded around the same time as “The Neon Skyline” and mostly direct to tape, showing new songs in their original form.

Released September 24th, 2021

A collection of 9 songs written and recorded by Andy Shauf between March and May of 2018.

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