When I listen to Andrew McHenry’s latest — and, to my knowledge, first — EP, I can’t help but notice the similarities to Elliott Smith. It’s not just a hint of Smith I hear in these songs, it’s a very strong resemblance. McHenry plays delicately layered guitar melodies and adds crisp, sing-a-long vocals on top, creating a package very reminiscent of something you’d hear on Smith’s self-titled LP or parts of Either/Or. If you’re tempted to write off McHenry as another imitator, don’t. There’s a lot of good here and, really, if you have to channel someone, Elliott Smith isn’t a bad choice, particularly if you can do it well, which McHenry does.
The four songs on the Toss & Wash EP are catchy, melodic, playful, and slightly melancholic. When the last song comes to a close, I find myself wishing there was more, which is rare for me with the music I’ve been listening to lately. This EP is full of promise for McHenry’s future work. He’s a talented guy who writes a good song, and as he matures there’s going to be a lot more to love.