Anyone who has heard his work with the Dictators, Manitoba's Wild Kingdom, or the Master Plan knows that Andy Shernoff is a man who knows rock & roll and is no slouch as a songwriter. But if you've been listening carefully over the years, you've doubtless noticed that Shernoff is capable of writing a great melody as well as a killer power chord, and he gives us a look at another side of his musical personality on the solo EP Don't Fade Away. The set kicks off with a hilarious and potent rocker, "Let's Put the Band Back Together," which suggests why some folks are best off letting the old band stay in mothballs, but the other three tracks are both pop-oriented and soulful, and sound thoughtful and mature in good and unexpected ways. "Laugh and Walk Away" and the title track are smart, introspective meditations on the tough lessons life has to teach, and Shernoff reworks the old Dictators number "Hey Boys" (co-written by bandmate Scott Kempner) from a middling power ballad into a lively acoustic rockabilly number that takes flight in a way the original never did. Shernoff brought some top-notch material to these sessions, and using the Springfield, Missouri studio crew the Skeletons as his backing band was an inspired choice, as they connect with the rock & roll heart of these tunes while also understanding the country, pop, and R&B accents, and giving the music rock-solid chops and a resonance that's a perfect match for the emotional force of the songs. Don't Fade Away may not sound like what some folks expect from an Andy Shernoff record, but these four songs show the man is still writing excellent songs and singing them straight from the heart, which is what his best work has always been about, and it's great news that well over three decades into his career, he's still got fresh and worthwhile things to say. So where's the album, Andy?
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming