Nashvilles Kyle Andrews makes for a nice marsoupial in this video for "Kangaroo".
When confronted with the question, WHY DO YOU MAKE MUSIC? Nashville-based singer/songwriter Kyle Andrews doesnt even need to stop and think about it. I make music that makes people happy, says Andrews. I realize that theres no shortage of stuff to listen to, you know? I just feel like if Im going to put my energy into making something, I want it to be goodand I want it to make people feel good. I want to put some kind of upbeat vibe out into the world. Ive always been about that.
Andrews has been spreading good vibes via his masterful bedroom pop confections for the better part of a decade now. Fostered by the encouragement he received from newfound fans through the boom of early 2000s MySpace culture, Andrews released his first proper album, Amos in Ohio, in 2006. Buoyed by a groundswell of Internet support and the growing admiration of NPR and KCRW, Andrews continued to expand his musical palette. In 2007, he let loose with a 7-song EP, Find Love, Let Go, and followed it up two years later with Real Blasty, an album that showed off his dexterous ability to jump between jangly acoustic numbers and shimmering electro-pop. It became a balancing act he would perfect on subsequent releases: 2010s Kangaroo EP and the 2011 full-length, Robot Learn Love. As his prowess as a songwriter developed, so did his reputation. 2010s You Always Make Me Smile inspired an epic video in which 4,000 people engaged in one of the worlds largest water balloon fights, while the video for Sushi involved 1.4 million tiles and thousands of YouTube video stills and was shortlisted for the Guggenheims YouTube Play Exhibit. All of these musical feats are made all the more remarkable due to the fact that Andrews remained, for all intents and purposes, a one-man operation: a bedroom recording project that steadily went global.
When it came time to consider making his fourth full-length, Andrews found inspiration in the unlikeliest of placesthe possible end of the world. It was around the time that people were talking about how the Mayans predicted the world was gonna end, he says, Its silly, but in the back of my mind I was thinking, 'Well, just in casemaybe I should make another record. And that led me to think about what kind of document Id want to leave behind you know, if the world were to end or if for some reason I never made another record. What kind of statement would I want to make?
Andrews returns with the answer to that question: Brighter Than The Sun, an aptly-titled record that Andrews will release on his very own imprint, Elephant Lady Records. While still working within the milieu of one-man band, Andrews also brought in live drums and more expansive production to give the record a sound befitting its title. In that sense, the album doesnt so much represent a reinvention of his sound as much as it does a radical expansion. Having decided to fully invest himself in the pursuit of making a pure pop album, Andrews has concocted some of the warmest, hookiest music of his entire career. Opening track Lion sets the tone for the pop that is yet to comeshiny, synthy, symphonic dance-friendly numbers that explode out of the gate with melodies and sing-a-long choruses aimed skyward. Songs like Looking Up and Crystal Ball rank among some of the catchiest tracks Andrews has ever written, while Set Your Heart At Ease showcases Andrews uncanny ability to balance pop jubilance with youthful melancholy. When he sings, Set your heart at ease / Everything will be OK / Its not a sad song if everybody sings along its as if Andrews has found a way to make music that exists like an armor against cynicism. The albums closing track, The Way to Wonder, articulates all of the albums kindest sentiments into one sanguine moment; a love-letter about optimism and togetherness, the track morphs from an acoustic strum to a loping, sun-infused sing-a-long. Its the perfect final moment for an album that seems intent on creating a palpable and completely genuine sense of joy. Without being saccharine or snarky, Brighter Than the Sun is a record that celebrates chasing after the good and shaking off the bad.
I tend to write my happiest songs when its raining outside or things are tough, says Andrews. I write the kinds of songs I feel like I myself need to hear. Over the years, Ive gotten so much crazy feedback from people about my music, about how its helped them or brightened up their lives or cheered them up when they needed it. Thats the kind of energy I want to put out there. When you are making songsand later when you perform them for peopleyou are repeating these lines over and over and over. The words become like a mantra, and if youre going to have a mantra, you have to ask yourself what you want that to be.
This summer, Kyle Andrews will hit the road to help bring Sun to the masses, an experience that he is very much looking forward to. I usually say that my favorite place in the world is in my room recording stuff, he says. Im not the worlds biggest extrovert, but I do like to be on stage and kind of just dissolve into the songs. Im really looking forward to going out this time and sharing these songs with people and seeing them sing and dance. Im looking forward to going places with my band that weve never been before.