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Andrew W.K. - You're Not Alone (Album Review)

Wednesday, 07 March 2018 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Does the world need a new Andrew W.K. album in 2018? If your answer to that question is a curt ‘no’, then you are turning your nose up at the concept of fun itself. Sure, he’s largely remembered for songs he released almost 20 years ago, but at this point he is more than just a musician.

In 2001, he released ‘I Get Wet’. His bloodied nose on the cover epitomised the larger-than-life, technicolour metal bursting from within – it was and still is a sugar-rush of major-key, four-to-the-floor joy. That record, and sleeve, cemented him as an icon.

Since then, he’s been subject to ludicrous, Illuminati-level rumours regarding his identity, resulting in something of a career blackout; recorded an improvisational piano album; been appointed as the United States’ Cultural Ambassador to the Middle East; become a Guinness World Record holder by drumming non-stop for 24 hours; undertaken a motivational spoken-word tour covering all 50 US states...and released his own line of pizzas in Japan.

More than anything, though, he’s embodied the party philosophy laid out on ‘I Get Wet’ by sprinkling positivity everywhere he goes. Andrew W.K. is a force of nature, a true one-off, and his grubby white t-shirt is now in possession of its own driving licence and mortgage repayments. Now, with ‘You’re Not Alone’, the self-professed one-man party machine brings with him his first studio disc of original rock songs since 2006.

And upon first listen, it’s just as ridiculously OTT as you’d expect. The rough and tumble, Ramones-at-the-keyboard style of ‘I Get Wet’ is present and correct on I Don’t Know Anything. The record literally opens with a robot saying ‘Party, Party, Party’. There’s lots of grunty, PMA shouting about partying. And spoken-word passages litter the track-listing, telling us to ‘party with your demons.’

But, underneath the sheen of eccentric, electric lunacy you’d expect from Andrew W.K., there’s so much more going on. This isn’t just sugary pop metal. The clean, sing-song guitar lines of the title track and Give Up On You are cinematic as they come, tag-teaming with frenetic piano to concoct something akin to Queen in a sweet shop.

Likewise, Break The Curse begins as a ballad-esque dirge, not too dissimilar from the stuff Andrew recorded during the ‘Close Calls With Brick Walls/Mother of Mankind’ sessions over a decade ago. Soon enough, though, a solo Brian May would be proud of appears, backed by irresistible gang chants. Oh, wait, now it’s a new-age, ‘Epicloud’-era Devin Townsend song. All right, then.

The point is, no matter what Andrew’s doing on this album, he’s having so much fun. It’s infectious. Total Freedom is basically a Coldplay song *cough* but actually good *cough*, our white-shirted hero delivering his finest vocal performance to date. While detractors say he’s a dunderheaded, hedonistic thug, he’s too busy out-Chris-Martining Chris Martin to care.

While it’s not as immediate as his culture-denting debut, ‘You’re Not Alone’ is the definitive distillation of Andrew W.K. – if not as a musician, then certainly as a human being. When this album’s playing, you’re transported to that lazy suburban street, next to him on the record’s sleeve. He smiles that goofy smile of his as you arrive. He gives you a thumbs-up, high-fives you. He says it’s time to party. He puts his arm around you. Your friend, Andrew W.K..

Andrew WK Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri April 13 2018 - CARDIFF Cardiff University Students Union
Sat April 14 2018 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town
Sun April 15 2018 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute2 Birmingham
Wed April 18 2018 - NORWICH Waterfront Norwich
Thu April 19 2018 - PORTSMOUTH Wedgewood Rooms
Fri April 20 2018 - MANCHESTER O2 Ritz
Sat April 21 2018 - GLASGOW Glasgow Garage

Click here to compare & buy Andrew WK Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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