Review of Close Calls With Brick Walls And Mother of Mankind

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Buy The Album On Amazon

There’s only one proper way to get the full experience of this album, lock yourself in your bedroom and blast it. And don’t come out until you’ve listened to every song all the way through. Bust out the lyrics (Disc One & Two) and sing along or just listen and have a great big killer party by yourself; free from any distractions. Until then seeing and hearing the overarching vision of this release will not come into focus. I repeat, a single song here or there cannot capture this operatic two disc release.

Close Calls With Brick Walls

I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy this first disc for the past 3 1/2 years (see some background info on its release). Although the sound of Close Calls might not be as mainstream as I Get Wet or The Wolf, its replay value is comparable. After all these years I still find myself popping the CD in on a regular basis. I don’t even know if I can explain why, perhaps it’s just that catchy.

The power behind I Get Wet or the motivational lyrics captured in The Wolf can be found here if you’re looking for them. They are hidden behind the new direction of sound AWK has chosen to take his music. In previous interviews he’s mentioned the goal for the sound he wanted to create on the first two albums. He didn’t want to differentiate the sounds of instruments; so a piano sounded like a guitar or synthesizer or bass or vocals and everything sounded like the exact same note being played. In Close Calls this is not the case and it will be the first thing you notice. You’ll be able to hear that heavy metal guitar solo shredding away your speakers. His voice cuts through much clearer and a classical piano will sound like a classical piano. The extensive layering has also been minimized which allows for certain things to pop-out at you.

The dynamics of the lyrics seems to have changed as well. One Brother has chosen words that simply sound a certain way rather than focusing on actual meaning (?). This strategy creates a very confusing song but in turn provides a very catchy one to sing along with, even if you have no idea what you’re saying! Hence, Andrew’s common theory on interpreting things however you want, is magnified.

Though it contains some experimental tracks that I often brush past, the album is full of unforgettable ones as well. You’ll never take a road trip again without listening to The Moving Room on the way. A song that compares a car to a  room and in the middle of it, the inspiring lyrics “You know you can if you want to!” repeated, will push you over the edge of excitement. Into The Clear sounds like the cliche climbing a mountain helped me overcome my fears track, except the fact that it actually does make you feel like you just overcame something huge.

9/10 In context with all of Andrew W.K. releases. Leaving room for a little improvement.

Mother of Mankind

Eating a bag of mixed nuts is always fun. An album of scattered songs throughout a career is too! Although many of the songs have already appeared in various places, they belong here. For example, the track I’ve Got Know Fear was completely out of context when it appeared on the vinyl version of Close Calls. It is now apparent that this song belongs nowhere near the 2005 recordings of CCWBW. However, it does fit nicely around the 1999-ish AWKGOJ recordings; and who wouldn’t want more AWKGOJ songs!!?? A perfect fit for the advertisement 1999-2010 of Rare and Unreleased Songs.

Upon my first listen I started to become a little nervous by the time I hit the 9th track. I had already covered two unheard songs and seven others I had already heard. Some of which were somewhat new to me though; Vagabond had a much improved makeover, We Got A Groove came out earlier this month (which I absolutely love), and Who Knows? was just taken from the 2006 DVD. The culmination of which was leaving me unfulfilled. I thought to myself would the first half be similar to the last half?

And then it happened. The 10th track started, Coming Bad delivered what most fans could only dream an AWK song could deliver! Especially the 2nd verse. It didn’t stop there. The 14th track I Will Find God had just as inspirational lyrics as The Wolf, and The Party God was one of the most tremendous songs I’ve ever heard. The only words sung in the song reminded me of pieces from Beethoven’s Ode To Joy, (my favorite classical song) along with the synthesized violins leading up to the crescendo. Which was a magnificent way to finish off the album.

I have a feeling that Mother of Mankind’s replay value will be no different than its counterpart, Close Calls With Brick Walls. So, expect the next 3 1/2 years to be filled with excitement! These albums will make you want to learn every lyric in order to sing your heart out with Andrew this summer at the Vans Warped Tour. Enjoy!

Also a 9/10 In context with all of Andrew W.K.’s releases. Leaving room for a little improvement.

** Spoilers**

Mother of Mankind Notes

Keep your ear to the ground while listening to the following

  1. We Party (You Shout) Exact same track that appears on The Premium Collection released in Japan. The name changed though from Party (You Shout). Oh, and there is some weird sound at the very very end of the song. Maybe it’s just a problem with my copy though?
  2. High Five unheard song!
  3. Let’s Go On A Date exact same as CCWBW Korean
  4. We Got A Groove exact same track that was released on the We Got A Groove split. Nice to have it in perfect digital quality though!
  5. Sarah Notto unheard song!
  6. Vagabond a heavily updated version from the track that appeared on a radio show in 2006. It also has a new music video!
  7. I’ve Got Know Fear exact same as CCWBW Vinyl
  8. Big Party exact same as CCWBW Vinyl
  9. Who Knows? this is the title track taken from the Who Knows? DVD of 2006. The voice over has been removed and the piano in the intro seems to be more layered, also has a different outtro.
  10. Coming Bad unheard song!
  11. Can You Dance With Me? exact same as CCWBW Korean
  12. Kicks and Bricks appeared in 2004 on Andrew’s website. Either this is simply the best quality version we’ve come across or the bass has been improved a little. Perhaps slightly clearer vocals as well? Everything about this track is clearer.
  13. A.W.K. Originally appeared as the hidden track of AWKGOJ. However, a remix version appeared on Andrew’s website sometime ago entitled AWK R.C.U. Mix. This is the website version.
  14. I Will Find God unheard song!
  15. This Is My World exact same as CCWBW Korean
  16. Young Lord exact same as version that appeared on Andrew’s website
  17. We’re Not Gunna Get Old exact same as CCWBW Vinyl EXCEPT the very ending, the last few second are chopped off where Andrew sings alone.
  18. Kill Yourself the second half of this song has more layered vocals than what appeared on the We Want Fun Demo version
  19. I Want Your Face exact same as CCWBW Korean
  20. Jewel Street Man unheard song!
  21. The Party God unheard song!
  22. Doing Andrew W.K. if you got it from iTunes, you’ll have this track which is taken from the Vagabond single.

The track We Will Boogie from CCWBW Vinyl seems to be missing from the album.

Am I missing anything? Let me know in the comments section of this post!

Andrew W.K. On “Anything Anything” 101.9FM RXP NYC

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Andrew just finished an amazing free-form radio interview on 101.9FMs Anything Anything in NYC

It was planned to be two hours but he demanded that the party carry on over the regular programming!

On it he premiered a few new tracks from the upcoming album, does some piano improv/plays I Love NYC and Don’t Call Me Andy live, and gave rare insights into his early musical career and songwriting methodology for some of the songs. Also, secret details about upcoming Santos appearances were revealed, an I’m A Vagabond music video should be out in a few days, and a possible vinyl pressing of Mother of Mankind is in the works.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Sorry for the low-quality but the stream was set to a very low bitrate, I did what I could with it.

-lexleningrad