Ten Shots Plus a Promise starts not with a song but a declaration. It’s actually interesting and well spoken. It also really accentuates what is the best part about this album – the lyrics. Andy Leeming is a singer-songwriter who takes his time to create stories, metaphors and allegories within his songs to gain the listeners interest. While the album has well-crafted songs and great lyrics the album contains 15 songs (I should mention that the last two songs are bonus songs) almost all of which are based entirely on his voice and guitar. The album would have benefited from being shorter and condensing some of his best material. Leeming works best when the songs sound soft, intimate and have a hint of melancholy such as the delightful “Scars.”
The music begins with the second track “Yorktown” and I have to say I loved the lyrics “How I wish I was alive back in 1776 cause the 21st century is popping pills when all it really needs is a revolution and a good night’s sleep.” Being an American History buff myself I liked that he tried combining these themes into the songs even though it sometimes came off as a bit gimmicky. “Nothing at All” was the first song in which things slowed down a bit. This is a good thing, His voice sounded better and I could clearly hear the lyrics. Not since Conor Oberst have I heard a songwriter take this much time to really craft the lyrics by taking simple narratives and combining them with clever metaphors and analogy. What he also has in common with Oberst is his reference to self-medication, which was a common theme on Fevers and Mirrors by Bright Eyes. The album went back and forth with me cringing at times to really enjoying it. I haven’t felt that way in a while. The songs that had a punk rock vibe didn’t fare as well with me as the intimate material. Being his first debut the good outweighs the bad and his lyrics alone are something that most other singer-songwriters will be jealous of.
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