I found it, you guys. I know everyone’s been longing for Adam Driver to sing over some surf rock, and I found the closest thing we’re going to get to that. Wait – no one was waiting for that? Oh, well, still, that’s what I’ve got. And it’s being released on cassette for hipsters and those of us who never got rid of our Walkmans (as well as digital download for the rest of the world.) This March 25th, Andy Sadoway gives us Str8 Sh00ter, his debut EP on Father Daughter Records. If the name sounds familiar, Sadoway is from Boston’s Bent Shapes as well as other bands like Destry and Spirit Kid. And if his voice sounds familiar, it’s because I’m not entirely convinced that he and Adam Driver aren’t one in the same. I mean, have you ever heard them in the same room at the same time? I thought not.
The four tracks are decent: the title track opens the EP with surf pop that continues later on “Don’t Mind.” “You Kept Things Intact” and “Leave Some Space” are more folk-pop. Each clock in at under three minutes, which makes this a very short album, but it doesn’t linger where there’s no need to linger. The songs are just as long as they need to be. The surf guitar creates upbeat, catchy songs, but the deadpan vocals bring a melancholy to each song. There are bongo drums on “Don’t Mind” and some electric piano on “Str8 Sh00ter,” which are often pretty happy-sounding instruments, but they still can’t balance out the gloomy vocals and lyrics.
Sadoway’s gritty vocals sound like Adam Driver is delivering them with a slightly higher voice and better enunciation. Some of the straight-forward lyrics sound like they could have come from Driver’s character on Girls, Adam. Adam came to mind on “You Kept Things Intact” when Sadoway sings “your best friend, she seems kind of shitty.” Can’t you picture him saying that about Marnie? It all fits, I was half-convinced that I was going to find out that Driver and Sadoway were actually the same person. I love the last few lines to “You Kept Things Intact,” which go “When running late feeling underpaid I wonder to myself/ ‘Hey Andy, haven’t you maxed out all your vacation/ stop saving up.’” The best part is that the song just ends almost immediately after those lines. We’ve all been at that point at the end of our ropes, whether we have vacation days to spare or not. Though we can all relate, it’s still a bummer. Even “Leave Some Space,” a song about having someone by your side when you die and taking time to relax and reflect comes off as a downer. Instead of wording it like a positive message, it’s more like a complaint about how he’s spent too much time on stuff he doesn’t care about. Still, the lyrics are easy to relate to for the Negatives Nancies among us. I have to wonder if Sadoway’s lyrics might be a little happier if he actually used those hoarded vacation days and took some time to relax. If you like Driver’s voice and blunt, downer-ish delivery, maybe this album is for you. For me, the vocals were the weak part of the release.
So if you want, you can get your hipster on with a cassette (or digital download) of Adam Driver’s voice-twin singing over surf rock and folk pop. It will be a good fit if you’re feeling grumpy. Plus, with only four short tracks, this cassette won’t drain your Walkman’s batteries. See, Andy, that’s how you look at the positive side.