The fusion of styles and song craft on the single, “DIRT”, by self-taught singer-songwriter, guitarist, drummer, and pianist from South Jersey – Andrew J. Stewart, better known as the project ANDRUM – works to forge a sound which should create immediate ripples through the rock world and beyond. Play loud, play mean, play like you want to make an impression on the scene, seems to be prerogatives for ANDRUM, whose songs are anything but feeble and timid. The arrangement on “DIRT” has plenty in common with progressive rock complexities, alternative rock bluntness and the dark, morbid aura of grunge rock.
The force of the drumming, the expansive keyboard runs, and the start-stop dynamics of the rhythm with its winding bass groove and scratching guitars turn “DIRT” into calculated and controlled powerhouse cracker. “My time has come. The end is here. Ready for death. I have no fear,” sings ANDRUM. His gravelly growl digging deep into the subconscious, as he launches metaphor after metaphor.
“DIRT” showcases the power that ANDRUM has: no amount of blind rage or annoyed attitude can beat genuine emotion in a song. ANDRUM excels at creating feeling in its music in the most visceral way possible. It’s a great combo of the projects furious playing abilities with its talent for melodic restraint in service of the song’s narrative. “DIRT” a complex, dynamic song full of earnest emotion and subtle wordplay.
“DIRT” provides a blueprint for ANDRUM’s sustainable growth and ongoing appeal by showcasing its incremental, yet relentless, experimentation. If you’re somehow new to ANDRUM, this track will essentially explain the formula the project has used to propel its momentum. Hard rock swagger that blends progressivism, ferocious guitars, pounding drums, and the nuanced baritone voice of Andrew J. Stewart.
If you’re attracted to the aforementioned brand of rock nostalgia, which is hard to find in the current music climate, then “DIRT” is just what you’re looking for. It’s got a big banging intro, and a crushing arrangement that swirls within an ever-changing template. It is a hymn of resistance and reassurance in the face of personal affliction and challenges. The song’s sentiment cuts straight to the heart.
“DIRT” shifts between a sense of dread and a feeling of combative defiance. On first listen it’s easy to miss the narrative details that make it so special. Which is why you need to press play more than once or twice on this track. Like so many of the songs in ANDRUM’s catalog, there’s much more going on than first meets the ear.
“DIRT” is a track that’s also defined by its musical elasticity. Much can be said of the spectacular drumming, along with the track’s prog-inspired breakdowns and grand convergence of spiraling keyboard melodies.
It is without doubt, one of the most musically inventive tracks in the ANDRUM play-list. It is, in short, a triumph. The muscle and might of “DIRT” contains a delicious kinetic energy. It’s sophisticated, yet raw, unleashed, and unpredictable songwriting at its best.