BUZZ BOX- Haunted: Waldeck hears subtle extras

Fans of Earth To Andy would no doubt be excited about the eponymous Mr. Waldeck's forthcoming solo release no matter what, but when Andy shared with the Hook both an advance copy of the album and some insight into his artistic identity, it became obvious that this time they'd really have reason to get excited. 

The last time fans had cause to go gaga was in 2004, when the six-song EP Offering was released, a low-impact, low-key vehicle for Waldeck's songs that had him performing in a stripped-down singer/songwriter mode worlds away from the Ritalin rock of Earth To Andy.

But somehow Offering retained much of the same charm, and Waldeck's characteristic compositional quirks poked through enough to appeal to many of the same fans.

Waldeck is fairly aggressive as songwriters go, even when his distortion pedals aren't dimed, leapfrogging key changes while making it look deceptively easy. His formula for harmonic acrobatics is simple enough, though.

"It always stems from really well thought-out and beautiful melodies," he says. "Even though Earth To Andy had vocals a little more on the screamy side, the main thing that people took away from it was the melody."

Which, as it turns out, tends to take random turns rather frequently, since he occasionally has to wrap it around sequences of chords that even crooning guitarist Jack Johnson wouldn't think to play in the same month, let alone in the same song.

"As a songwriter, the thing that I do that makes me feel like myself is the way I write melodies and the way I put chords together," he says.

And that's why the lines between fans of Earth To Andy and plain ol' Andy should probably be blurred or even erased: even when Waldeck's projects go off on completely new tangents, the same captain is driving the boat. For Long On Summer, his wake may not have come full circle, but it's at least a reckless sloshy ellipse of some sort. 

"It's definitely a new direction, but it comes from the same place," he says.

Waldeck has returned to the rock band format, albeit with a little more restraint than he might have exhibited during the Earth To Andy days. Drummer Nate Brown and best-buddy/pianist Tevis Marshall provide context for Waldeck's new multi-layered approach, but supplemental musicians like Joe Lawlor and Mike Meadows are the congealing agents: with so many pitched instruments, Waldeck had a musical Wonka Factory of subtle melodies to play with.

"I got to exercise thinking about those counterpoint melodies and little embellishment points that help support the main melody," he says. "The extracurricular melodic material is one of the main reasons I wanted to do the record this way, because I hear those things all the time. They haunt me."

Andy Waldeck