March 16, 2003

Andrew "Happy to Be Here"

I'm happy that Andrew's happy to be here. Andrew seems the kind of fellow who would indeed be happy to be here. I mean, look at that mug! And that dreamy, pop-kid swoon-inducing car! You really cannot go wrong with Andrew's light pop. He's got an utterly sunny-day voice that, at times, could pass off as an all-natural alternative to prozac. In fact, Andrew's record is almost a male version of Sarah Shannon's utterly charming debut album--a baroque-pop treasure with an ear to light, fluffy Bacahrach-pop, yet never anything less than original.

Of all the great, sunny pop songs on Happy to Be Here, I love "He Can Fly" the most. It sounds like a long-lost Brian Wilson Gary Zekley nugget, with a 60s-pop sound that's probably due to guest musician Tom Dawes, from the great, classic Cyrkle. Oh, yeah, and he's also accompanied by the occasional purrying pussycat. (If you've got the kitten factor, I'll fawn over you.) It's one of the best pop songs I've heard in ages. That it's followed by "If I See You Smile," which is easily the best 1970s AM Radio pop hit Allen Clapp never wrote, makes me fall even harder for Andrew's record.

And while we're on the subject of what makes Happy to Be Here great, I have to ask a general question....why are bands afraid of orchestration? Why aren't more of you indie "pop" bands employing little orchestras for your records? Andrew certainly makes a grand case for using them, and in my mind, he's just raised the bar on other bands making said pop sounds. I mean, really, why rush into the studio when you could save a few bucks, go on the road, sell your possessions, etc., to make your record sound this great? And why, too, don't more bands invest in a Hammond Organ? Andrew uses one on two songs (a cover of Dion's "Now" and "Tears Anyway") and if you think that one little instrument doesn't make a record better, take a'll be pleasantly surprised.

Andrew, I'm happy to have you here. Your record makes my day, it really does! It's so sunny and bright and sophisticated and intelligent! You'll be happy to have him in your record player, too...a fine addition to any collection, and Andrew's quietly climbing to the top of the modern-day singer-songwriter fare....Allen Clapp, you have now been warned!

--Joseph Kyle

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