Andrew Espinola has been featured on these pages before under the guise of A. Rex, releasing one folk-pop record and another which was more in keeping with 1970’s Americana. Espinola has now teamed up with his classically-trained wife Lauren to form the Shy Bunch and claims that this project is to fulfil his love of “whiny songwriters”.
There is no need to worry about this statement though. Espinola’s way with a light, airy melody and his own keening vocals are on a par with Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie renown. Here are moments of well-crafted and literate pop music, captured to perfection on the piano-led trio ‘Trying To Get Where You Are’, ‘The Dangers Of Whiskey And Talking’ and ‘Don’t Really Care’; each one a bittersweet gem. ‘Lauren’ is a dedication to his wife which is rather touching and both this contribution and ‘Inside’ use simplistic acoustic arrangements where the male half of the duo – not for the first time in his career – summons up the spirit of Eels’ Mark ‘E’ Everett.
At a mere seventeen minutes in length, there’s little time to get your teeth into this record. Yet there isn’t a dull moment on it as the Espinola couple have crafted six great songs of memorable, heartfelt pop.
The Shy Bunch MySpace
A. Rex, Death Cab For Cutie, Eels