"Recorded at home in Nashville, TN and at [his parents'] home in Chicago, IL," Kyle Andrews' second full-length album, Real Blasty, is a testament to what can be accomplished in home studios by an ambitious musician working largely alone. A few friends contribute guitar, bass, and drums, but for the most part this is a solo album, Andrews playing all the rest of the instruments in addition to writing the songs and serving as his own producer. Yet this is not one of those lo-fi efforts determined to make a virtue of necessity. On the contrary, Andrews wants to get as much of a sophisticated studio sound as he can out of his home setup. The album starts out with tracks that make it seem he only aspires to an '80s synth pop/rock effect, sort of like a one-man Cars, on the tracks "Sushi" and "Naked in New York." But by the fourth selection, "Call and Fade," he has moved on to a majestic, Beatlesque arrangement that signals his sense of how his many overdubs interact to create dense, yet driving textures. Meanwhile, his lyrics, sung in his often scratchy yet expressive tenor, belie the solo stance of the music, beginning with romantic devotion to a particular "you" and then confessing (in the third song, "Polar Bear"), "I'm not good being alone." Soon, however, the poison darts come out, and by the end Andrews is waxing more philosophical and general before signing off with the complete lyric to "Bus": "Take my love/It's all I am/It's all I have to give/It's all I have." Actually, Andrews has a home full of musical instruments and recording equipment, and from the evidence heard on Real Blasty, he knows what to do with them.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann