Here, Casey is reviewing the most recent release from C-U’s soul and rock artist, Andy Mo. His EP is entitled Here I Am.
Rather than explain the strengths and weaknesses of the record as a whole, I think it’s better to go song-by-song, since there are only three of them on the EP.
The opening title track of Here I Am is a gentle jam that encapsulates everything that Andy Mo and his group are all about: soulful vocal melodies over poignant instrumentation. The guitar stands out, especially with its serene tone that kick-starts the EP. From here, the instrument gradually evolves to a point where it gives the song a stirring edge, especially once it gets to its own solo. While it is simple in its instrumentation and structure, it is a grooving track that is rich in atmosphere.
“Miss Lonely” is another slow-tempo song similar to the track before it, with more of an emphasis on the keyboard instruments of piano and organ, rather than the guitar, which is much more subdued. This is where the vocals truly shine on the EP. Each singer, whether providing lead or background melodies, gives an incredible performance, adding a serene texture to the track in the process. However, it is essentially the “middle child” of the EP and may not stick to the listener as much as the opening or closing songs.
The third track, “What A Shame,” serves as a nice pick-me-up after the two slow-jams by being a mid-tempo blues-rock tune that really gets the foot tapping to the steady beat. Eliciting vibes of groups like The Black Keys with the thick and distorted guitar riff that serves as its driving motif, the song is unequivocally the highlight of the record and should serve as a satisfactory crowd-pleaser anytime it is performed live.
The production on this EP is as crisp as a fresh apple from a farmer’s market. Every instrument, whether it be voice, guitar, or percussion, is balanced accordingly, and compliments the others extremely well. There were no moments on this record where I felt as if there could have been more focus on one instrument in particular, or that I was not able to hear a specific passage because it was being masked by distortion. What I got instead was a finely produced album from the Tolono-based Earth Analog Studio.
Although Here I Am supplies only three tracks for the listener to digest, it is still a fine collection of soul, blues, and rock and roll from Andy Mo. If this well-crafted and aptly produced EP serves as a musical sign of things to come, then we have a lot to look forward to within the coming years from the CU artist.
Andy Mo, “Here I Am”
You can catch Andy Mo performing at The Accord this Thursday, August 25th at 9 p.m. with openers Kevin Cory and Sixth Street Brass. Tickets are $7 at the door.
The show will be an album release party for his new EP. A digital copy of Here I Am is available to stream and purchase at his bandcamp page. The physical release, containing bonus material, will be available at his show.