LA-based indie multi-instrumentalist, Andrew Stogel is a resilient presence, and his latest project, War Strings, is a direct indicator of that. Today, he released, “Tragedy (Lovesong),” the second single off of his highly anticipated forthcoming debut record, Who Cares How It Ends (out June 12). Stogel describes his debut record as “an amalgamation of depression, love, friendship, and, most significantly, a rebirth” and, at least with “Tragedy (Lovesong)” in mind, that seems to check out.
“Tragedy (Lovesong)” — produced by Chris Coady (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs) — is riddled with a heavy amount of bass and chock full of reverb, amounting in a love-lorn anthem that would be perfect to scream along to, alone or in a crowded room. The track is gritty and raw, though danceable at the same time, making it easy to get hooked on. At least for me, writing this review has rendered it an absolute earworm and one that I can’t seem to shake.
“She’ll never listen [to] my love song,” Stogel laments; each time his words repeat, the more longing they reveal. His vocals are angsty and emotionally charged as if with each line, he’s restraining an outburst of pent-up frustration. Battling not only the strength to move on from the track’s described heartbreak but the real-world struggles he’s had to endure, too, that sense of “rebirth” that Stogel claims to have channeled is apparent. Moving on from his past synth-inspired bubble gum-pop indie persuasions of past releases — notably with tracks such as “I Want To (Make You Feel Happiness)” — War Strings is reemerging with an added edge, and it’s intoxicating.
In line with this track’s emotional appeal, part of War String’s evolution relies somewhat on Stogel’s personal sense of “tragedy.” Nearly two years ago, he endured a major head injury that rendered him bedridden for just about eight months, and justifiably, that was a jarring experience. In the process of recovery, he faced a gut-wrenching crossroads: to give up and let what had happened stop him in his tracks or to persist and continue forward. Though it likely wasn’t an easy decision to make, Stogel powered through despite feeling as though he was literally on his deathbed, armed with a new perspective (partly due to the perceptual distortion he experienced due to his injury).
Slowly, his drive to create began to flourish once more and while still stuck in bed, Stogel got to work with a series of engineers to bring the sonic vision in his head to life (since, at the time, he was unable to look at screens, nor did he have the strength to lift a guitar). Once he was back on his feet, War Strings’ debut record was able to come to fruition.
In the past two years since his injury—since he’s been able to bounce back from an awful predicament not only somewhat unscathed, but with a full-length record to boot—it’s certain that Stogel’s on the right path. At least with this track in mind, I’m curious to see what else he’s got hidden up his sleeve and can say with almost certainty that it’s bound to be exceptional.