Andy Jenkins - Sweet Bunch - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Andy Jenkins - Sweet Bunch

by James Weiskittel Rating:7 Release Date:2018-06-15
Andy Jenkins - New Bunch
Andy Jenkins - New Bunch

After years of paying his indie-rock dues, Virginia-based singer/songwriter Andy Jenkins is set to release his debut LP, Sweet Bunch.  As a follow-up to his 2016 single “Lazy Coast”, Sweet Bunch channels a satisfying mix of all-things-70’s through a modern-Americana lens.

Produced by Spacebomb founder Matthew E. White, the majority of Sweet Bunch was recorded over the course of a frenzied three-day period; a decision which provides the album a tangible sense of urgency.  It's Jenkins laid-back, distinct voice that takes center stage on this nine-song collection, as his southern-charm-tinged vocals manage to tie everything together.

The mid-tempo, piano-driven album-opener “Hazel Woods” sets an introspective tone from the get-go, with Jenkins lamenting “It all ended like I knew it would when the shadows came to fly” over a bed of jangly-guitars and a choir of backing vocals.  The uptempo “Curve of Love”, with its vibrato-drenched guitar lead, feels like a lost FM gem, while the country-tinged “Genuine Heart” conveys an earnest southern-rock vibe.

Meanwhile, the album’s first single, “Ascendent Hog”, delivers an incredibly strong chorus while the title track features some tasteful lead work.  Jenkins wisely decides to save some of the best for last, with the final two tracks (the funk-laced “Get Together” and the built-for-a-singalong “Song for Me”) providing some of the record’s best moments.

As with any debut, there are occasions that feel as though Jenkins is searching for a way to place his own stamp on what is admittedly well-tread ground.  But despite a handful of somewhat derivative moments, the record’s undercurrent of familiarity plays mostly as an asset. And while Jenkins manages to effortlessly channel shades of yesteryear’s icons, Sweet Bunch is largely delivered with a contemporary touch.

Whether or not the album sounds fresh and exciting, or merely evokes shades of nostalgia will probably boil down to what decade the prospective listener was born.  Either way, one thing is for certain; Sweet Bunch is sure to please indie-folk fans both young and old.

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