Andrew W.K.: Close Calls with Brick Walls/Mother of Mankind

RIYL: Billy Idol, Meat Loaf, Muse

If Andrew W.K. was a bit of an anomaly when he dropped I Get Wet in 2001, he’s an unfrozen caveman today. His trademark high-energy anthems about partying, partying hard and partying ’til you puke struck a chord with those unable to suffer the self-absorbed nu-metal bands that dominated the early 2000s landscape, but after his 2003 album The Wolf failed to set the world similarly ablaze, his third album Close Calls with Brick Walls only saw the light of day in Japan and Korea. Four years later, Close Calls is finally getting a US release…but is there an audience for beer-soaked rockers in a climate where many rock bands make their mark writing songs for strippers (see: “Crazy Bitch,” “Addicted”)?

You have to assume that Andrew W.K. knew that his time in the spotlight had come and gone when he recorded Close Calls with Brick Walls back in 2004 and 2005, which is what makes the album such a fascinating listen today. It has the standard breakneck party anthems in “Not Going to Bed,” “I Wanna See You Go Wild” and “Las Vegas, Nevada,” but you can also see the frustrated musician lurking beneath. “You Will Remember Tonight” begins as a straightforward rocker, but the outro is galloping spaghtetti western craziness, like a beta test version of Muse’s “Knights of Cydonia.” “Dr. Dumont” is a gorgeous piano solo (something he would explore in greater depth on his 2009 album 55 Cadillac), and “Pushing Drugs” bears strong resemblance to, of all things, Devo’s “Girl U Want.” It’s all a rather careful, and smart, blend of old and new, but Andrew isn’t taking any chances on its success, packaging the album with Mother of Mankind, a rarities disc spanning Andrew’s entire career. The end result will surprise a lot of people. (Steev Mike 2010)

Andrew W.K. MySpace page
Click to buy Close Calls with Brick Walls from Amazon


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