Just two days after announcing it, Andy Shauf has released his new album Wilds. Recorded around the same time as last year’s lovely The Neon Skyline, this latest release comprises nine songs that continue to demonstrate the Saskatchewan singer-songwriter’s knack for thoughtful narrative lyrics and immaculate retro folk-pop arrangements — but if you’ve heard advance singles “Jaywalking” and “Spanish On The Beach,” you already knew that.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of The Neon Skyline‘s characters and stylistic tendencies populate the songs of Wilds. Shauf remains a compelling storyteller, someone who can conjure vivid scenes and summon deep emotion via running play-by-play. Some of his most powerful moments, though, are the ones where he stops describing an environment and simply emotes, like on “Call” when he channels his longing into this memorable refrain: “I just want to hear your voice call/ Down the empty street/ Telling me you miss me/ Just telling me anything.” I also remain deeply impressed by the way his agile, melancholic, sometimes playful singing works within these artfully assembled environments.
It is possible that Wilds is even better than The Neon Skyline, but we’re going to have to spend more time with it to be sure. Let’s get started below.
Wilds is out now on Anti.