Reviews and Suggestions

Music journalist puts his money where his opinions are


Andrew – 33: The Best Of Andrew
Hanky Panky Records

Andrew, he of the first name performing sobriquet, is actually Andrew Sandoval – erstwhile chronicler of all things pop music and author extraordinaire. I had read his book on the Monkees and had actually become a fan of his writing work before I had heard a note of his music. I must say he outdoes his written projects quite handily, which is no mean feat, creating sublime chamber pop music and notching up a decent body of work that includes four albums, a few eps, and a single or two. This new CD happens to be a sort of “best-of” featuring songs off of each of Andrew’s albums as well as some tracks gathered from other projects.

When most people think of critics, it is pretty much surmised critics are critics because they can’t do what they are critiquing. In most cases, they are right. Take myself, for instance. Frustrated musician for many years (drums, guitar) who actually has some credits on some albums (were one to scour the Goodwills and used music stores in Buffalo, New York, one might eventually stumble across a few of these…ahem, gems) but generally a sub-par musician who decided to quit before he was asked…..violently. Writing about music was a way to remain somehow connected to playing music. While Andrew may or may not feel the same way, he is the rarity of a music writer also being a great musician. I can only think of Ray Davies as an example of doing both with any kind of quality. And, yes, I am daring to compare the two. I love Ray Davies and his Kinks. I also love this new CD by Andrew.

Okay, I said all that to say this: you may find fault with Andrew’s opinions and his writing (though I don’t know how ’cause his musical taste and knowledge is almost without peer), but I seriously doubt you’d find any fault at all with his music if you like classic pop on a par with The Left Banke, Raspberries and Beatles. In other words, I believe he should quit writing straightaway (more jobs for me…) and concentrate on finding ways to expose his music to more people. It may be facetious to say such a thing but I have been extremely surprised with the passion and quality of his music. The fact is his albums are on a par with the first two artists of the three I have mentioned (The Beatles being too much of an iconic band to use as a comparison as far as quality) and are just a pure-pop joy to listen to. He has obviously used his good musical taste to his benefit and has taken the best of each of his pop faves and made a melange of styles which sounds at once both familiar and original.

Anyone who is into the vintage pop sounds of the late ’60’s when the emphasis was on songcraft and innovative instrumentation and song structure will definitely find a lot to like with Andrew’s latest release and hopefully it will encourage people to check out his other releases as well. All of Andrew’s work features the same great qualities as this collection and all of his albums are worth picking up.

Scott Homewood