Ronan Andrews’ new solo EP Quarter Life Crisis features upbeat and bright pop with some groovy jazz and soul undertones that should please fans of his group Fresh Fruit!
There’s a happy, feel-good air about his songs, like the upbeat opening track “Dancing Like a Fool,” featuring a bouncing piano groove, full vocal harmonies and cool guitar licks. It gives “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5 feelings, especially when the piano plays lush, jazz-influenced chord changes.
Andrews continues that light-jazz sound with a bossa-nova, “The La La La Song,” featuring an easy-going groove, more complimentary vocal harmonies, and chord changes you might hear in an Antônio Carlos Jobim tune. The swaying, dreamy feel fits the theme of going along with life’s flow through all its hardships and heartbreaks.
Midway through the album, Andrews shifts to singer-songwriter mode, featuring more piano-heavy ballads. The slinky “Jealous and Insecure” matches those jazz chords and rich vocal harmonies with a pop-r&b groove that pushes it in a yacht-rock direction (this is a good thing), with a light hint of a Mayor Hawthorne or Bruno Mars/Silk Sonic influence.
For better or worse, some of Andrews’ character and originality gets lost in the more commercially-focused piano ballads. The last track, “Solitude,” could play over the heartbreak chapter of a teen movie. If it got into the right hands, it just might, though it begs for more of that personality and sonic identity that he strongly establishes earlier in the album.
Andrews is off to a good start in Quarter Life Crisis, making a case for a strong identity in his bright soulful sound. It seems he’s on the other side of that crisis and here to sing all about it.