- When was the last time you heard a song that ended with a mouth-trumpet solo, or that paired lush pads with the sound of a toilet flush? Probably never—such goofy sound experiments are often avoided in the worlds of house and ambient. But Andy Wilson (AKA Andras Fox) has no problem following his cheekiest impulses on the self-titled debut from his latest alias, House Of Dad. Said to be literally an homage to his father, who apparently was a plumber and fond of hosing down his driveway, House Of Dad also teases the idea of "dad house" towards the realm of "dad jokes." What's more striking than the music's love of non-sequiturs, however, is how well it balances them with a remarkable sense of groove and casual beauty. Weird as Wilson can get from track to track, he's never far from pure enchantment.
Surely that dedication to the sublime carries over from records like Overworld and Embassy Cafe, where Wilson's delicate musicality and transportive dance sounds trumped any other inclinations. And when those ideas are brought together with a wacky attitude and skipping, funky grooves, their juxtaposition is even more engrossing. It's all produced with a newfound clarity and precision, too. Tracks like "Water Diviner" and "Hard Working Man" find Wilson using his new dynamic best—the former floating seamlessly between swirls of synth and pop-locking beats, while the latter flips its titular sample every which way among slippery drum patterns, cool chords and a plaintive clarinet. That balance is less convincing on "P.O.E.T.S. Day," which pairs a standard 4/4 rhythm with spritely string stabs and new age chimes. Heartfelt and carefree, the track is certainly charming and a fitting closer for the eclectic House Of Dad, but it doesn't lean into the element of surprise that makes the rest of the record so enjoyable.
A similar argument could be made for "Stereo Dunnies," and yet there's something about the downtempo piece that makes it stand out. The ample space Wilson arranges his track with—from the room reverb on a sharp-cracking snare and the generous bass boom, to the top synth's lazy ping-pong and, yes, the flushing water sounds—is enveloping and rich, pristine and pointed. And it all flows so gently that by the time the beat disappears five and a half minutes in, it's impossible not to be lulled by each disparate sound as it all unravels. "It started to feel weird sampling from a culture that I wasn't a part of, and something that other people could do conceivably way better than me," Wilson told RA in his 2014 Breaking Through profile, and House Of Dad tackles that problem head on. By returning to his personal roots for inspiration and letting his gut instincts run wild (no matter how bizarre), Wilson has built the ideal home in which his music can grow.
01. Entrance to the Garage
02. Water Diviner
03. Hard Working Man
04. Stereo Dunnies
05. Roof Metal Corrosion
06. P.O.E.T.S. Day