Review Summary: A more cry baby version of Owen.
Sometimes a musician, an acoustic guitar, and their soul are all that is really needed to comprise an extraordinary album. Andrew McShan attempted this in his 2010 album The End of Something. The album starts off strong with the best song on the album, “How’s the Weather"” The song starts with a long but well played guitar intro with nice harmonies. McShan’s vocals later surface and are soft and compliment the lyrics well. Some more smooth guitar playing transitions from the bridge to a small build up at the end making some repeated lyrics very effective. Though the lyrics are sometimes a bit juvenile they are at other times quite sincere. The next song, "A Letter", is a great example of some of the more genuine lyrics on the album and is accompanied with simple but moving guitar lines. Unfortunately, after the first couple songs we hear just about all that McShan has to offer on the album. With the exception of a couple more notable moments there is not a whole lot going on with the rest of the album.
The underlying problem with The End of Something is that it lacks originality. McShan does not do a lot on the album to differentiate himself from his obvious influence, Mike Kinsella of Owen. The album is full of melodies and complex guitar runs that could not rip off Owen more if he tried. Not to say that the guitar work is badly executed, but it is not as memorable or interesting as other works in the genre. If you take the music for what it is without comparing it to anything else, however, it would not exactly be subpar. From the first song it is clear that McShan is very capable of composing well crafted songs. The question is whether he is able to keep up that quality for an entire album and with his own style. Still pretty young though, it is indeed plausible for McShan to do this in future releases.