Slip on your wrist sweatbands and buckle up because rockin' rollin' rollickers Andorra are back with What You Wanted - the first of two EP releases due out this summer. The Philadelphian alt-rock outfit teased its release last September with "Four Corners", the opening track off the work. You can stream the angsty anthem of alienation below, where lead singer Kevin McCall seemingly channels the feelings captured in "Adam's Song", yet adds Andorra's "sweaty, bearded boozehound" spin, making for an edgy alt-rock ride soaked in Bud Light and regret.
What's fun about the What You Wanted EP is how, in actuality, it is the first half of a full-length album to be followed up later this summer with What You Got. As if that wasn't enough, the group will then drop the project as a whole LP, including some bonus tracks, as What You Wanted, What You Got this Fall. w-o-w.
Lead singer Kevin McCall described the full work as a tribute to where one grows up - however, along the way, the work dives into the feelings of moving on and out on your own and what comes with dealing with that; from the vices one may employ to the solace one may find in isolation or "in their room", Andorra is taking a hard look at these decisions one makes under duress.
I believe the underlying theme seems to convey the cruel reality of life in that no matter what you do and/or regardless of your intentions, you will never be in control of what transpires. A famous quote adapted from Robert Burns' To a Mouse best captures this theme:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain
In aligning this to McCall's intentions with the LP's theme, one can tie this to the idealized view one encompasses when making the transition into complete independence and adulthood, followed by the crushing realities that come with responsibility and maintaining relationships in adult life, but more painstakingly, the nostalgia one grapples with in thinking about the Before. What You Wanted, What You Got will stand to cover these feelings of dealing with the Now, while still being anchored down by The Before - demons we all grapple with in going through major life changes.
However, beyond subtle references to age-old allegories and the inherent dread that comes with aging, What You Wanted offers a more mature, refined sound for the group since their debut etc, etc, etc... in 2015. One can easily attribute this to line-up changes and a few years of life experience, which always seems to influence a band or artist's sound.
This go around, Andorra displays a much more cohesive sound and has truly come into their own as a functioning band with a clear-cut desire to provide hard-hitting, alt rock jams. My fav track off this first half is definitely "Habits". Despite it being a re-hash of a long lost Andorra tune, it still captures the "new" band's energy, supplied with some lovely dirty vocals by McCall throughout the hook. One can taste the disdain in his vocal performance as he expresses his frustration with being left behind, but like, in that fun, "Hey man, it's just rock" way. Like, by the end of the song, I noticed my dress shoes somehow morphed into converse and my shirt & tie transformed into a wrinkled Ramones t-shirt. What were once khakis became slightly torn jeans. My resentment towards "the Man" now prevalent in all my waking thoughts. All of this because I *foolishly* listened to Andorra at work. But with this transformation in mind, if you enjoy the Foo Fighters, bands like Everclear, the Stone Temple Pilots or Franz Ferdinand, or honestly just rock music in general, you'll enjoy what Andorra has to offer.
Anyway, there's only so much hype one can generate via critical analysis and clever wording, so to get a feel for what one can expect from Andorra, the band is throwing a release show for What You Wanted this Friday, May 26th at the Barbary in Philly. For more details, hit that link or just click the image below: