Andrew J. Stewart is a self-taught guitarist, drummer, pianist from South Jersey. The singer-songwriter has a solo project called ANDRUM that delivers a blend of influences which include metal, rock, jazz, rap, funk and others. A quick run through the project’s ever-growing catalog shows that ANDRUM opens on a hard hitting note with the one-two-three punch that is “Wasted Time”, “Burden”, and “Wounds”. The opening track wastes no time before kicking off into a heavy riff. The song feels urgent and slightly angsty, and ANDRUM’s vocals only adds flame to the fire. His voice is deep and dark, and both smooth and rough all at once, giving it a haunting quality.
“Burden” proves to be as heavy while being more driven. It’s a song full of rhythmic hits, riffs and guitar motifs, while ANDRUM’s vocals soar as he belts out gripping and intense verses in between the melodic choruses. That being said, ANDRUM shines just as bright on the slower grungy songs like “Wounds”. There is clear sense of danger and emotional despair, as the singer-songwriter shows the same footing and confidence he does on the faster tracks.
ANDRUM’s music marks a dynamic revival for the sounds of the best bands from the ’90s who were among the biggest influences on modern rock in the 2000s; it is clear, that this is a project to watch out for, if rock is your thing. ANDRUM is steadily blossoming into one of the most creatively interesting acts in modern underground rock, commonly exploring the distinct realms of artistic possibility with each release.
Each subsequent release, functions not only as a proud and raucous mission statement continuing in the vein of ANDRUM’s prolific tradition, but an audacious announcement that the project has no intention of slowing down anytime soon.
The steady, pulsating backbeat of “I Tried” is infectious, as ANDRUM sounds at once contemplative and aggressive – a common tactic he uses. The song is built on a jangly and shimmering backdrop which foretells an optimistic future for the artist.
In both “God’s Mind” and “Lost”, ANDRUM unleashes his relentless, powerhouse drumming chops within more complex arrangements. It becomes obvious from songs like these that ANDRUM strives for something beyond being the kind of totally acceptable classic rock tune that survives for a couple months on mainstream rock radio and then disappears forever. The instrumentation and singing are equally impressive, while the guitars, keys and drums are given ample layers of power.
Bands rarely take risks anymore. Most times they stick to an established formula and keep the sounds regurgitating, preventing real artistic growth. Then you have a project like ANDRUM, always searching for a new sonic twist to its ever-changing template. With a wistful heart and soulful delivery, any song in the ANDRUM set-list can stand up on its own merits.
Smartly written, and thoughtfully orchestrated, every ANDRUM song will in some way, send a chill up your spine, especially if you like your rock raw and haunting. Andrew J. Stewart expertly crafts subversive guitar and drum-driven jams that will persistently haunt you.
His songs come through the speakers and envelopes the listener, taking them on a journey across layered crunchy emotion-filled soundscapes. This is the sound of a project stretching beyond genre or musical-era limits, to challenge what rock orientated music still can be in 2021.