Saturday, December 18, 2010

Andrew W. K. - Close Calls With Brick Walls and Mother of Mankind

He will forever be known as that Detroit hard rock singer who likes to party and “only” write party anthems. It doesn’t seem to bother Andrew W. K. at all. Sure he is probably best known for his song “Party Hard,” but the guy really knows how to make kick ass hard rock music.

Andrew W. K. is a positive party rock machine that spews out remarkable, ridiculous lyrics you can’t help, but enjoy every moment of it. He can be best described as having a larger than life personality like Meat Loaf, the killer jams of a Thin Lizzy and the soul of Bruce Springsteen- he’s wholesome rock n’ roll with a positive party rock attitude.

Producer, promoter, entertainer, musician and motivational speaker are just some of the hats Andrew W. K. wears. Regardless of what he does, Andrew W. K. is one energetic, engaging entertainer who knows how to put on an amazing show. Early on his career, critics and fans alike didn’t know if Andrew W. K. was playing a character, but does it real matter when an artist continues making cool music?

When I told friends I was writing a review on this album two comments constantly kept coming up: 1) Andrew W. K. is f*****g awesome! and 2) Didn’t that album come out four years ago? Sure you can easily debate the first statement (I don’t know why), but the latter needs some explaining because it’s true. Close Calls With Brick Walls is Andrew W. K.’s third album and was originally released in 2006, but only released in Japan and Korea. Eventually it was released in the United States as a limited edition vinyl with bonus tracks, but in very small quantities. Due to legal issues, it wasn’t released on CD until earlier this year when it was packaged with an additional CD containing rare and unreleased songs for the album Mother of Mankind.

Unlike previous albums, Andrew W. K. sings instead of screaming his vocals and is more experimental. The album is more traditional rock, but Andrew’s awesome and amazing high level of intensity still remains. Whether or not you appreciate his party attitude, you have to admit he continues to enjoy making music.

Close Calls With Brick Walls opens with "I Came For You" and the joyride begins for a fun, fantastic time of debauchery. “Not Going To Bed" is so over-the-top and ridiculous it’s exactly what’s needed. “You Will Remember Tonight" contains great guitar riffs and distinct drums that support Andrew W. K.’s killer vocals on this fun, fresh party song. Another amazing song is “Pushing Drugs."

It’s very rare that a song makes me want to get up and party nonstop, but that’s what “One Brother” makes me want to do. This song is an eminent example of a good party song Andrew W. K. writes. Banging my head and throwing my hands in the air I feel so alive every time I hear it.

Most of the other songs that are worth checking out include “Las Vegas, Nevada," "I Want To See You Go Wild," "When I'm High," and “Don’t Call Me Andy.”  He is all over the place, which is great to see an artist explore themselves on an album. There are touches of a somber Scott Walker, 80s power metal, pure party music, soulful sounds, and just good old school hard rock music.

Mother of Mankind is a treasure trove of unusual and unique songs or as Andrew W. K. has put it as a “box of songs to explore.” For some it’s cool and others crap because some songs contain no vocals, no guitars, no instrumentation and that can be unsettling. I will let you be the judge, but it’s worth exploring if you enjoy Andrew W. K.

With about two hours of entertainment and 39 songs, what else could you ask for? Honestly, it’s truly a bargain to receive so much for so little. More artists need to be like Andrew W. K. and stock their albums full of songs instead of barely compiling a record that resembles more of an EP than album. Other fun loving artists to check out include the Aquabats and Electric Six.

--Mr Brownstone

Buy here mp3: Close Calls With Brick Walls / Mother of Mankind
Buy here: Close Calls With Brick Walls/Mother of Mankind

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