The anticipated new album by singer-songwriter Andy Shauf is now available. The album, entitled The Party, is an extraordinary merging of sumptuous pop and poignant lyrical narratives that was recently described by The Independent as a “baroque-pop exercise with echoes of Seventies smarties like Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman and Steely Dan, though rather more empathetic than them.” With The Party, Shauf masterfully creates a cast of memorable and unique characters. They show up “Early to the Party,” reveal secrets (“To You”) or try to reveal nothing (“The Magician”). In “a city the size of a dinner plate,” everyone knew the guy who keeled over after smoking what he promised would be his last pack of cigarettes (“Alexander All Alone”). There’s the girl dancing by herself in the middle of the room, with the “Eyes of Them All” upon her. One moment you’re dancing with someone who bears an uncanny resemblance to your ex (“Martha Sways”) and later slagging your best friend as way of endearing yourself to his recently dumped ex (“Quite Like You”). All of this is set to ornate arrangements of fuzzed-out guitars, string sections, clarinets and dreamy synths, all draped over delicate piano, acoustic guitars and rainy-day drums.