20 Watts

20 Watts Reviews Andrew W.K.’s Close Calls With Brick Walls by crumblymuffin

Andrew W.K.'s latest brings the standard amount of destruction for fans

PREVIEW: VISIT Andrew W.K.’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 13/20 Watts

Oh, jeez. Where to start with Andrew W.K.? Part of me knows his music is overwrought, cheesy and often totally awful, but all of the other parts don’t really care. He’s an absolute maniac live, and has no problem writing songs with titles like “Party Til You Puke” and “I Want Your Face,” the latter of which is about wanting to steal someone’s face because they look like him. Awesome. I was lucky enough to catch a lecture by him at NYU last fall, and regardless of what people think of him, the guy has some very interesting wiring upstairs, which apparently lends itself to creating twisted power metal.

Andrew W.K. doesn’t seem to care about what people think of his music either. After releasing an album of instrumental piano improvisations last fall (he’s classically trained), he’s finally releasing his long-awaited third album, Close Calls With Brick Walls to a U.S. audience this year. Suffice to say, it’s a total trip: Meatloaf-esque piano bangers and heavy thrashing abound, alongside some really intriguing studio work.

He starts the album with two tracks of low-key experimental music, before buzzsawing into one of his trademark headbangers “I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed,” complete with the ringing chords and stomping rhythms that made him famous. The rest of the album follows suit, with manic thrashers like “Las Vegas, Nevada” followed up with a minute-long piano tune that feels like it was dropped in from another planet. The weird thing is, “Dr. Dumont” ended up being one of my favorite pieces on the album.

What always kills me about Andrew W.K. is his ability to flick so many little references into his music while keeping it so obviously his own perverted brand. “The Moving Room” sounds like vintage Springsteen, but dares to throw in a few harpsichord lines buried in the mix, and “One Brother” takes an anthemic song about friendship, then soaks it in weird effects and lyrics about eating worms.

Granted, Andrew W.K.’s not for everyone.  The only reason I got all the way through it was from sheer excitement at hearing new material, but it’s still definitely worth a listen. With 18 songs clocking in at under an hour, it definitely won’t linger on any thoughts for too long, but if you’re looking for the perfect song to stomp a couple heads in, chances are it might be on this album. I’m not one to advocate, but the album does make for a phenomenal soundtrack to the classic N64 button-masher NFL Blitz. Just throwing that out there.

–Dan Creahan

1 Comment

I Get Wet is still one of my favorite guilty pleasure albums.

Comment by dankaplan1

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