His third album, Close Calls With Brick Walls (part of a series of three albums that will be released at different points around the world at different times), turns everything you thought you knew about Andrew WK on its head. It's one of the most ambitious American rock albums this year. But it wasn't even released in America. It has only seen the light of day in Asia (Japan, Korea), where WK is a massive star.
Early critics missed a key point in WK's development. He emerged from the same Ann Arbor scene as noise band Wolf Eyes. His music, then, reveals itself as noise rock microscopically constructed from layer upon layer of melodic counterpoint. Minimalism produced for maximal effect. His first two albums were marked by both an extraordinary restraint and an overwhelming exuberance. Close Calls takes this 'more is more' philosophy and blows the doors open with it, slamming power rock up against show tunes, white man's funk against walls of noise and pulling it all off with conviction and verve.
The lyrics, though, are questing, alluding to a monumental battle of wills between light and dark, belief and make-believe. WK plays with notions of identity and persona, constructing an increasingly arcane mythology around himself that turns reality inside out. Certainly, no other rock star is as odd as WK. He posts lengthy digressions on the benefits of 'self-monitoring' on his MySpace page. His album features photographs of him in starkly unnatural poses and bathed in ultraviolet light. At times, he doesn't seem to be himself.
This Korean edition has 4 bonus tracks for Korea only (not available on the Japanese version)!