Originally from the North East of England, Andy Oliver is a France-based singer-songwriter. Although music has been part of his life from a young age, he only started to write seriously after a long battle with alcohol addiction. Receiving praise from Don Mclean, Glenn Campbell and original Fleetwood Mac guitarist Jeremy Spencer, with whom Oliver wrote an album in 2013, he has been releasing albums and singles since 2009. A writer who also composes music for TV and Film, Andy states, that though his early frays into songwriting was initiated by his alcoholism, he now casts a focused eye on the shifting political climates, in particular the events tied to Brexit in Europe and the new Trump era in the USA.
“Tracks like ‘I’m leaving’ and ‘This Fire,’ being my response to how this has impacted on my life,” says Andy Oliver, continuing: “I have also been lucky to come out the other side of my struggle and ‘You Let Me In’ is testament to the love and support that keeps inspiring me to be a better person.” These tracks can be found on Andy Oliver’s brand new EP, “Sometimes it’s Better in the Movies”, set for official release on iTunes and other major digital download stores from November 12th 2017.
Nothing on this new recording album, his most pleasing and immediate effort to date, feels over-stylized or contrived. Andy Oliver has cultivated an easeful way of balancing down-home and urban, modern and vintage, role-inhabiting and autobiographical sensibilities.
His spry acoustic guitar and piano dominated soundscapes, conversational and citified wit, as well as his emotionally and melancholy slanting deliveries are all central elements to this mature batch of tunes centered on changing landscapes and the promise (hopelessness?) of the future. If there’s anyone out there who underestimates Oliver’s ability to be a charismatic, compelling performer, these tracks should answer those doubts.
How do you balance the need for growth and prosperity with the determination and reverence to also hold on to the particular conditions that maintain dignifying humanitarian and socio-political values? It’s a question with few easy answers, and which most politicians rather ignore than struggle with.
But it is a subject that keeps artists like Andy Oliver focused on examination. He brings massive themes like this into his own personal little stories. On ‘This Fire,’ he simply answers the question about the ever changing world, with another though–provoking query: “Maybe its fate we should end this way, or maybe it’s something bigger than us, this fire.”
He is even more eloquent on the saddening “I’m Leaving”, which I gather, seems to be a clear indication of his state of being, and decision, during the Brexit affair: “So bitter the taste as the words leave my mouth. Searching for reasons to stay and hear you out. Stop all the records and silence the crowds. Though it tears me to pieces, we’ve long since played this out. I’m leaving, I’m leaving you behind…”
With its piano sprinkles and slow rhythmic swerves, the title track, “Sometimes it’s Better in the Movies” marks the emancipation of Andy Oliver as he bares his soul in a flow of consciousness. For me, both musically and lyrically, this is without doubt the best track on the EP.
Annexing classic musical memes offers Oliver the ability to walk the line between tradition and his own modernity. “When The Party’s Over” recasts the singer-songwriter chestnut over a stripped down piano accompaniment, while the percussive mid-tempo “You Let Me In” is as much a foreboding plea as it is a determined declaration . But those aren’t the only shades of Andy Oliver’s storytelling craft: “Travelling Man” romps through a busier arrangement and a more exuberant vocal display all within a powerful singalong melody.
All throughout “Sometimes it’s Better in the Movies”, Oliver sounds like an authentic troubadour from a purer time. An art which seemed all but lost since the demise of many legendary singer-songwriters from the past.