Nothing in life is certain, save for death, taxes and Andrew W.K. wearing a white t-shirt. Wait. He’s wearing a black t-shirt. Oh shit. Recent photos of the self-proclaimed Party God flaunting an expanded wardrobe had fans worried. Then came Babalon, a hulking, Mercyful Fate-flecked track with Andrew waxing biblical about Greek deities, topping it off with a Halford-worthy falsetto wail. Not exactly ‘party’ vibes. If you checked out after 2001’s I Get Wet, you’d be forgiven for not recognising him today. The euphoric, lairy shouting is pretty much gone, replaced with a mixture of croons and trad-metal vibrato. The obnoxious, major-key mixture of punk power chords and plinky, almost childlike keys has dried up, too.
So what’s actually left? Something completely bizarre. Andrew’s clearly been mainlining mid-2010s Devin Townsend into his inhumanly sculpted arms. It was hinted at on his previous outing, You’re Not Alone, but the influence is stark here, right from Everybody Sins’ simplistic chug playing against those angelic keys, to No One To Know and I’m In Heaven’s stirring percussion and choirs. You could’ve stuck that on Devin’s Transcendence and gotten away with it, especially with the latter’s spacey leads.
And that’s just one slice of oddity at play. If you want weird, And Then We Blew Apart’s got you covered. Beatles piano ballad by way of a Sparks hook and Brian May solo? It’s thrilling to hear such wild experimentation from a man basically known for one song and a nosebleed. Even stuff like Remember Your Oath, which would be naff in someone else’s hands, shines by virtue of Andrew’s sweaty magnetism and – not even joking – genuinely moving vocals. He’s gotten scarily proficient.
It’s heavy. It’s uplifting. It’s not I Get Wet. It’s Andrew W.K., whatever that means in 2021.
God Is Partying is released on September 10 via Napalm Records