Oh, What an Honor/Oh, What a Drag

For Andy McFarlane, the process of forming and then hatching his musical idea took about 17 years. Those years were filled with a career in education, raising a family and losing parents. His circumstances might’ve remained roughly the same had he not run into a childhood friend, Matt Drenik. From there, McFarlane combined life and loss together with a musical energy that had been dormant since high school and leaned on Drenik as a producer for Oh, What an Honor/Oh, What a Drag, a debut album of sorts. The songs are modest and smooth, as on “Lowlands,” with bass and percussion that hopscotch into a hook as McFarlane sings a simple oscillating melody. Or there’s “Hearts Like a Knife,” with its hazy soft delivery and seamless transition between verse and chorus, wide lazy steps akin to early 2000s indie pop. There’s a light melancholy to these songs, likely from the source of the ups and downs of years past. It’s not epic, but it’s very real, which might be better.