By Ian Bremner
A dive bar, meeting a friend for drinks, said friend arriving late, ex back in town. All semi-familiar stories most folks could insert themselves into, but Andy Shauf’s jaunt and lyrical prose do it differently. Neon Skyline, Shauf’s new concept record centered around a night at the bar of the same name touches each of moments, but with distinct Andy Shauf delivery.
The devil is in the details for Shauf. Setting particular scenes are critical to the stories he is outlining in Neon Skyline. The story arc covers the entirety of the night at the bar. From sitting around solo, a drunk-ass cab ride, green plastic chairs, and eventually an encounter with an ex, from which the listen can sense coming.
Musically, Shauf leans into loungey jazz and vividly direct lines that would make Randy Newman smile. For a casual listener, Neon Skyline would be a great record to hear in a dark bar and drink beers to with friends (or solo). For listeners following the story of the record, you feel close with both the narrator and the characters themselves by the end of it.
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