Some say that heartbreak tends to inform the most inspirational music. Sad though it may seem, it’s often true as well. A case in point is San Antonio-based Andrew Espinola, who will be known to a lucky few as A. Rex and – as a reflection of his most soul-baring release to date – he has recorded under his own name for the first time.
Against Espinola’s familiar bedrock of indie-folk, the lyrics tend to range between bleak imagery (“And I’ve got to fight just to breathe. A million daggers are pointing at me” from the title track) and bitter reflections (“You’re a pretentious mess in a low cut dress” from ‘Somebody’s In-Between’). Yet what sets apart Espinola from other artists is that even though the material is informed by a dark place, if one listens to his comforting voice and the gentle melodies, the songs are resolutely hummable and relatively upbeat. To this end, the highly tuneful ‘Highways’, the portentous title track and a doleful ‘Understanding Roles’ stand out as beacons of high quality songwriting.
So as much as it’s easy to admire and enjoy ‘Into The Drink’ for its musical qualities, what is most commendable is that Espinola has turned a traumatic part of his life into a set of material which is honest without ever sounding like one man’s self-pity. Espinola states his goal is simply to “write great songs”. He should have no worries that this aim has been achieved many times over.
Death Cab For Cutie, Eels