The Shadow Side
In his Andy Black full-length debut, Black Veil Brides frontman Andy Biersack chases his dark muse against a cinematic backdrop of impressive pop ’n’ roll on The Shadow Side. These songs don’t back away from the arena ready bombast of ‘80s Bruce Springsteen and U2, a sound that suits the charismatic singer like high-end couture without sacrificing the postmodern theatrics or Biersack’s artistic voice. Yes, much will be written about the almost unbelievable collection of rock radio hit-makers who collaborated with Biersack and producer John Feldmann in some form (a list that includes members of Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and 5 Seconds Of Summer), but the guy whose name is on the cover sounds confidently in charge. The “throwback” references aren’t so much in sound as in spirit, dancing along that razor thin edge between maudlin and meaningful like kindred spirits Billy Idol and Adam Ant, or cinema icons James Dean and Steve McQueen. Where Black Veil Brides takes aim at societal mores and religious angst with outward defiance, Andy Black is deliciously subversive. “Homecoming King” and “We Don’t Have To Dance” demonstrate Biersack’s ability to deliver clever wit, borderline misanthropy and genuine disaffection inside grandiose pop rock. “Put The Gun Down” and “Break Your Halo” demand repeat listens to truly embrace the mix of soaring melody and darker energy, while “Ribcage” is as instantaneously arresting as a swift kick to the ribs (in a good way). Romantic, modern, vintage, classic, spinning pop illusions while sublimely dancing with the dark arts—there’s a definite “vibe” throughout The Shadow Side and the mainstream would be better for it, should the world surrender themselves to Andy Black’s deceptive embrace.