Tuesday, 8 September 2015

unZined Review - Andrew Warner

Once in while the bands / artists come to us, whether it be word of mouth or just seeing one of our reviews. This rarity hopefully will be a sign others will follow suit, as we love discovering new artists and promoting their wares. It gives me great pleasure to introduce Andrew Warner, a budding solo artist from Manchester. 
"I blend indie pop with a sprinkle of catchy hooks, a pinch of folk and a dash of honesty. I craft songs ranging from literal social commentary to metaphorical musing, leading to a memorable set of original tracks."
Andrew approached us at unZined looking to get our verdict on his debut release Tales of a Twenty-Something, which from his own words is something special featuring social commentary set to a folk-pop sound. Its interesting to learn that all of the tracks on the EP are performed and produced by himself. This has definitely piqued my interest already. Lets press on with the review below:

Tales of a Twenty-Something starts off with the track The Social Chameleon. The track starts off with a nice beat and sliding riff sounding good as it builds up to the verse. The tempo increases as the verse comes in with the vocals. It's evident Andrew is wordsmith who likes to tell a story or get a message across with his songs, not unlike fellow northerner Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys fame. The lyrics don't complicate the song however, but are easy to follow due to Andrew's vocals which are clearly spoken and well-sung. There's a well placed drop in tempo and change in tone after the half point, which serves well in breaking up the song before delivering a nice guitar solo. The solo is well played and gives a nice diversity to the song making it ten times more enjoyable. Andrew then builds up to the crescendo of the song by singing a barrage of lyrics, again well sung and well placed. Overall a great start to the EP; a short nice upbeat number, which was enjoyable to listen to.

The next track builds up the anticipation slightly by giving the listeners ten seconds of silence before counting in a nice upbeat tinny sounding acoustic guitar and drums. Not long after, a background riff has been included with the vocals. Swipe Right appears to be one of the examples of Andrew's social commentary, most likely about smartphone dating apps like Tinder and his experience of the same. A modern twist on dating unheard of in the music scene at the moment. The songs got a great catchy chorus and another great guitar riff. Its good to hear a great use of backing vocals in this song, giving the vocals a much needed beefing up to suit the more rock sound this song has. 

Next up is Don't Cry, a classical, clean-sounding guitar welcomes you to this song, which sets the tone in an efficient way. The song is built up gradually with additional acoustic guitar and tambourine. As the vocals are sung shortly after the build up and I sense a similarity to the Stone Roses initially, but I quickly take that back, as the song comes into its own towards the half point. Added hand claps are a great addition to the song's tambourine giving a great overall percussion element to the track. The chorus is well-sung,well written and with the inclusion of a subtle synth in the background, the song takes off carries us on the tempo up to another great guitar solo, which sounds awesome contrasted against the background guitar in the song. Its not a grungy guitar sound, but a nice clean sound that suits the song well and takes us to the end with a fade out. Don't Cry is overall a superb classical sounding ballad, which has slower tempo and shows us another side to Andrew's songwriting.

The next song struck me at first sounding similar to The Courteeners (probably due to Andrew's Manchester/Northern accent), but alas, like the last, it comes into it's own and has its own sound. Get a Move On has the listener riveted from the start with a well plucked acoustic guitar and vocals with a slight echo effect, which adds to the intimacy of the song. It's an endearing ballad, which is well sung and yet again, has well written lyrics. The song benefits well from well placed backing vocals sounding good as they harmonise with Andrew's own. A simple  innocent song with a deeper meaning. Very enjoyable to listen to.

Last but not least, we are given the closing song Insight of Mind on a 2am Drive. The track starts off similar to the past few songs with a nice plucked acoustic, but revs up the tempo with upbeat guitar, tambourine, and vocals. As the song progresses we are welcomed again with a return of the familiar hand claps and well played guitar solo. The song overall has a retro kind of sound to it thanks to the organ in the background. We are given not one, but two guitar solos in this song and I am given the impression Andrew's giving us a musical summary of all songs previously played in this one, giving the EP release a superb finale. 

Verdict:  Its hard to fault Andrew Warner's release as its overall a great, well-produced, well-rounded and well-performed EP release. Like every good collection of songs should have, it has its highs and lows. The lows coming from Don't Cry and Get a Move On and the highs coming from Insight of a Mind on a 2am Drive, Swipe Right and Social Chameleon. Amazing as it is, Andrew Warner performed and produced the EP himself. Such a talented solo artist deserves the limelight and I foresee him taking a Frank Turner turn of fame, performing his own concerts and festivals in no time. My fave from the release has got to be Insight of a Mind on a 2am Drive, as it has a great retro sound, is uptempo and really catchy. I will be keeping an eye on this talented musician and look forward to his future releases.

To discover gig dates, future releases, news and more, check the links below:

unZined, an offshoot of Little Indie Night, a night aimed at hosting what is becoming one of the best live music events in the Northwest, has been given free run to find local talent, find out a bit more about what makes them tick and spread the word around to promote local music. If you are interested in being featured or know of any musicians/bands who would be, contact Mal Keenan here or email me at mal@littleindienight.com.


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