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Andy Snadden - Album Review: The River

27 May 2020 // A review by Brendan McCarthy

The River is the debut album by Japan-based Kiwi singer/songwriter Andy Snadden. Displaying clear influences from some of the greats, one can instantly hear many hours of devotion to the likes of Lennon, McCartney, Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel have gone into the development of Andy's music.

Andy has a unique vocal style and backs himself with a well-defined Acoustic approach that he cleverly moulds into a different sonic journey on each of the 11 songs on offer.

The opening track If I Can't Believe In You sets the tone of the record and introduces the album's theme with its light-hearted 4-chord strumming and 50's pop styles. The walking bass line and excellent lead acoustic guitar solo on offer in this song are impressive, and on the first spin I could tell that this record was going to require some careful and considered listening.

Andy has a clear understanding of the mechanics of phrasing in his lyrics and is able to tell his stories with ease, all the while bending the words into his chosen melodies.

The next track continues this pattern with The Way You Kiss and Andy steps up the pace with some classy minor to major chordal shifting to keep the song moving along that displays the maturity of his songwriting knowledge.

It's at this point in the record that the power punch is delivered .You know that thing that happens when you are listening to an album?

You might be doing the dishes or some other domestic task where the music is helping you to get it done and then it just happens. The pivot. Hang on a second. Play that song again.

River in Flood is one of the best examples of pure simple musical excellence that I have experienced in quite some time. It's songs like this that make you believe that perhaps music is already written and just needs to somehow be unlocked.

70% of this song is one chord and it carries all the verses by simply bouncing on and off its suspended fourth. Just shows that music is about feel. There is no need for movement or change if the feel is right. A beautiful melodic chorus delivers Andy's message of "I could never lose when I've got your love".

What more do you want??


Just for good measure the track contains another magic acoustic guitar solo. Class.

I have to say that often when I find a favourite track at the 30% mark it can be difficult to listen objectively to the remaining tracks on a record. I think it's just something we do when we have found a favourite and it sets the standard in our heads.

But wait there is plenty more on offer.

The album continues to its logical middle with a nice self-reflective acoustic only track Music Will Pull Me Through which adds a nice pause to the aural journey which then sets off again with the very Kiwi sounding tracks In The Water and Waiting For The Right Time reminding me of the The Mutton Birds with their gentle beats, layered vocal harmonies and guitar jangle. Very nice.

The record then takes a little turn towards the country with the upbeat fun track Drink A River that adds a little cherry when it borrows a little jazz vocal skat singing technique to thicken the guitar solo. Interesting listening indeed.

Need Your Loving is a direct nod to the songwriting influences of Lennon and McCartney with its distinct chordal songwriting style. I can hear that they would have potentially given this one to Ringo to sing had it come from their stable.

Running adds to the weight of the works on this album as another well written and delivered no nonsense pop song. The lyrics reminiscing about being young and fancy free.

To complete the journey is the very personal lyrically expressive acoustic track Feels Like Time making reference to leaving Andy's home in Nelson and heading out to see the world.

Andy Snadden and The River will appeal to anyone who relates to well-crafted songwriting that delivers great tunes, great melodies and a no frills approach to music.

He creates music from his soul with a class that is a rare treat these days.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Andy Snadden

Andy Snadden is a New Zealand singer songwriter influenced by Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Paul, Simon, James Taylor, The Beatles, and Fleetwood Mac.

Born and raised in Nelson, he now makes his living in Nagoya, Japan.

He recently released his full length all original debut CD entitled The River. The songs on this record represent a lifetime of dedication to the art of songwriting, and are highly melodic, and emotional, with deeply crafted poetic lyrics.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Andy Snadden


The River
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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