Andrew Ashong – ‘Andrew Ashong’ EP (Which Way Records)

Debuting as a vocalist on ‘Flowers’ (in collaboration with Theo Parrish), one of 2012’s most pleasantly surprising underground hits, Ghanaian-British singer songwriter Andrew Ashong has quietly honed his craft ever since. Listening to the fruits of Ashong’s labour on this hazily entrancing new three track EP, it is clear the more than year long wait between releases was worthwhile.

The homespun analog charm provided by Theo Parrish on ‘Flowers’ is substituted here for a more conventional band set-up, although thankfully none of the intimacy of the former release is lost. Plaintive electric guitar strumming and dubby bass add to Ashong’s wistfully sung vocal on opening track ‘Special’, which drifts by in a waft of light melancholy. Never bursting into full throated bellowing or reaching for the highest notes, Ashong’s voice is defined by its fragility, and he makes use of a range of relatively simple effects to signal changes in mood and tone.

‘Never Dreamed’ finds Ashong submerging himself underneath reverb as a compliment to the track’s stoned jive. A Rhodes part and some jazzy fretwork do the tango lazily throughout as Ashong finds himself exploring a less electronically inclined interpretation of the neo-soul stylings of Eglo Records crew et al.

Closing cut and EP highlight ‘Love The Way’ is built around Ashong’s gorgeously half sung, half whispered central refrain layered atop extra harmony parts. A dreamy slice of doo wop, it concludes a satisfying release that hints at an exciting future for Ashong.

Andrew Ashong’s self-titled EP is out now on Which Way Records, buy it here

Christian Murphy 

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