Andy Shauf, Chris Cohen | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Andy Shauf, Chris Cohen Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Sold Out (Music) Soundboard Image

When: Tue., Nov. 29, 8 p.m. 2016

Canadian singer-songwriter Andy Shauf creates a vivid world on The Party (Anti), an album where he plays nearly everything and conjures a series of characters in conflict at a small-town gathering, his point of view shifting from song to song. On “Early to the Party” a lonely woman shows up ahead of time to wait for her date only to later watch him walk off with his friends, while on “Quite Like You” the influence of alcohol impels the narrator to go from expressing empathy for a woman who’s being ignored and taken for granted by one of his best friends to savaging the friend and putting the moves on her—though in the withering denouement he’s shocked that she rejects his overtures and reaches for her boyfriend. Shauf is a keen observer of small-town domesticity and captures the claustrophobia of a community where everyone knows each other’s secrets and half have dated one another. He delivers the ten songs in a hushed warble—half resigned, half tender—tracing a string of gorgeous melodies and rich arrangements that recall the key influence of Elliott Smith and a bunch of early-70s pop auteurs like Harry Nilsson or George Harrison. The album struck me slowly and softly, but now when I key in on specific lines, it hits like a fist.

Peter Margasak

Price: sold out

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