Andrew W.K., "55 Cadillac"

Album Review

Hard rock fans itching for Andrew W.K. to release a new single like his 2001 hit "Party Hard" will be sorely disappointed by the musician's fifth album, "55 Cadillac," which consists entirely of piano improvisations. The wordless set will likely be perceived as too abstract by some fans, but comparisons to Andrew W.K.'s previous work fail to recognize the virtuoso performance he delivers on these eight tracks. The song "Seeing the Car" is an uplifting composition, while "City Time" is much more manic, with a quiet beginning slowly giving way to a racing arrangement. For Andrew W.K.-who has also released two albums of Japanese pop covers-the departure from the muscular rock anthems isn't exactly jarring; more surprising is the daring attitude with which he approaches these winding, free-form songs. "55 Cadillac" offers a fun, technically exciting journey that paints Andrew W.K. as an artist unafraid of risks.-Jason Lipshutz