The stick-figure drawing that serves as the cover art for this record might as easily be an indicator of any of the numerous incoherent pop/rock/folk noise bands as it is of carefree pop work that’s both loose and inviting. “Living room rock” is not a bad term for Kyle Andrews’ brand of experimental college pop. Opting for an EP-like effort for his second album, Andrews has only placed seven songs on Find Love, Let Go. This makes the margin for error very low, but luckily Andrews gets everything right; there’s not a band song in the bunch, and there are quite a few really good ones.
The album launches with the irresistible, longing title track, by far the chief highlight and the most impossible to describe. There’s just a certain hard-to-get-at appeal to the way the song flies by: a purity to its structure and rapturous sense of melancholy that makes it an absolute gem. “Open mouth kisses/Soda pop wishes/Sorry I drank so much/I was afraid/Of those daydreams,” Andrew kicks off the song singing, amidst the creak of his acoustic guitar that’s never, I’m sure, sounded so good being played in such a technically improper way.
The only way I can think of describing the next track, “Get Mad” besides praising it for its utter recklessness and its quirky hip-hop sensibility (which is effortlessly achieved more through guest vocals, and a basic catchy little minor-key piano melody than the synthetic elements) is to say it sounds like the best song you could never quite seem to make with your cousin in your grandparents’ basement, with something to drum on and a endless wave of weird sounds (via an ancient 80’s keyboard.)
“Lackluster Love” is the most folksy, and tied in quality with most of the remainder of the album. In it Andrews sings, “So don’t take my lackluster love for granted/I can only give what I have” and it’s not immediately clear whether he’s pleading for a girl to stay, yelling at her as she’s leaving, or most likely writing and singing the song in the middle of the night after she’s already left. “Flat City” floats above and under a uncertainly phantom construction of a song, a euphoric and hyperbolic virtual plateau of subdued and appropriate riffing to the most electric melody of the album.
“Bat Fangs” the first of the two songs that would suggest one of those pointless to categorize bands (the other, obviously being the inexplicably titled “Acepilladora”) strikes me as pop lullaby with some of the album’s most vicious lyrics hiding in the wings of the song’s beauty: “Garbage stains/On the sidewalk . . . Don’t forget I would bury my head in the sand/If not for fire ants.”
All of this makes Kyle Andrews a unique and unfortunately missed member of the pop music community, but he’s still in some danger of failing to distinguish himself, if only because he’s too free with his music. But every song has its own unique and natural touch: “Give Up the Anger”, for example, sees Andrews delivering the most perfectly nuanced and comfortable vocal performance on the album, hiding amongst an array of electronic strings and a beautiful tenor guitar.
“Acepilladora” bows the album out at its least interesting. There’s nothing wrong with it, and in most respects it might seem to be about as good as the rest of the album, but it lacks the general spark and captivating interest of the rest of Find Love, Let Go, although lyrics like “I’m graduating to something true,” which come before the album concludes with an electronically-filtered vocal section, give the song life it wouldn’t have had. But with this track, Andrews’ sort-of EP goes out sounding like probably the best college demo you’ve never heard.
Timothy Zila is a pop music critic for Patrol.
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