Tales of hope and defiance, wrapped up in a dark pop package.
Label: Island Records
Released: 6th May 2016
You’ve got to hand it to Andy Black. He’s opted for a solo project so as not to muddy the Black Veil Brides waters with his own experimentation, the phase that so many artists go through with their bands and inadvertently push upon fans. Gone is the warpaint, slicked back is the hair; guitars are traded for string sections and keys, but the sky remains the limit.
“I’d rather fail than never try,” he declares in the latter half of the album, one of many, many relatable themes that ground his foray into lavish production and grander music in reality. ‘The Shadow Side’ is defiance, it’s optimism – it’s living through the bad to reach the next bit of good to hold on to.
Luckily, these personal battlecries switch from the soaring tales of ‘Homecoming King’ and ‘Broken Pieces’, to anti-social party anthem ‘We Don’t Have to Dance’ and summer tune ‘Louder Than Your Love’. Blend the feeling that you can take on the world with a nice little dance vibe and you’ve got the feel-good ‘Stay Alive’.
He has a knack for the infectious and cinematic, telling a story with quirky flourishes that soon highlight why this wasn’t a BVB project. It’s also allowed for some greats to throw their hat into the creative ring: Patrick Stump, Travis Barker, Gerard and Mikey Way, to name but a few. When it really gets into the swing of it, you can miss that energy when it hits the slower points. But, this is built to soar over crowds and make them move in equal measure. Andy Black tells tales of hope and defiance, wrapped up in a dark pop package. It feels huge, but speaks to the everyday. Heather McDaid