Andy Shauf’s the party presents a story in 10 parts from 10 perspectives. It captures angst, tenderness, jealousy, and the awkwardness of being an outsider, all whilst keeping you riveted to the subtle arrangements of softly played guitar, chugging bass grooves, intertwining female and male vocals softly sung/spoke but with feeling, layered vocal dubs, piano, synths, sparse percussion, violins, and enough ambience to sink you into a college age social depression.
The songs are imminently familiar, but calmly and sparsely told. Tales of longing, love misplaced, friendships lost, courage, embarassments made, grim accidents… stories half spoke and half sung. The album has a short runtime, but it’s a worthwile exercise. When I first heard it I played it on repeat several times to fully take it in. The melodies are well-layered and arranged with great space and ambience. The album is a really successful unified concept album with perfect musical and lyrical narrative construction and a fully developed story arc. It is a really fulfilling and complete.
Have a listen to this gentle pop masterpiece. It was one of my favourites of 2016.