MP3 Andrew - Happy To Be Here
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11 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Folk Rock, POP: 60's Pop
andrew's second album is his finest half-hour!
Here's what the critics said:
Andrew Sandoval is happy to be here, and the world is certainly a substantially happier place for having him in it. His newly released Happy To Be Here is thirty minutes of sheer pop heaven, overflowing with '60s nostalgia, melodic sunshine and gorgeous orchestration, all tied together with the soothing flow and dip of Sandoval's bright voice and clever, heartfelt lyrics. The resulting package is a tiny, joyous masterpiece built on recollections of golden skies, lazy Sunday drives, and bittersweet romantic entanglements...he has beautifully translated his taste for the warm California sounds of decades past into his own recordings, songs soaked in the sugared atmospheres of the music he loves so dearly, hearkening back to the Zombies, Love and the Byrds. "He Can Fly" was apparently inspired by a dream involving the aerial gymnastics of his neighbour's cat Duke (who makes a rather squeaky appearance on the track as well, plied with innumerable cat treats), the backing vocals of The Cyrkle's Tom Dawes adding yet another level of memorable intimacy to a song already steeped in timeless harmonies and swirling strings. "High Tower" is a radiant ode to the love of location, so brilliantly executed in its sentimental pop perfection that you might swear it was recorded forty years ago, and the French horn/trombone/harmonium magnificence of "If I See You Smile" lends a regal air to the cozy, winding Pet Sounds-era melodies. On top of all this, how could you not fall in love with that face? Sandoval's adorably placid countenance peering from the windshield of his snazzy little red Volvo would soften even the most skeptical of listeners. Basically, if this record doesn't make you smile with joy through every nerve of your body and wish with your whole being that pop music still had this kind of soul and craftsmanship, you need to check your pulse. - Daniela Maestro
Aiding & Abetting #240:
Andrew is Andrew Sandoval and a couple of buds. Sandoval writes the music, sings and plays guitar and other odd instruments. Ric Menck handles the drumming and David Nolte slaps a nicely rolling bass. As Bus Stop aficionados already should have guessed, Andrew sails the wide pop seas. Sweet, gorgeous melodies and pleasant harmonies. You know those scenes in movies where couples lie around in a meadow and watch the clouds float by? Andrew's music is perfect for just such an occasion. There are those who might find this stuff a bit too saccharine, I suppose, but since I'm one who is easily put off by sappy stuff I'd say Andrew puts enough vigor into this stuff to stave off such a reaction. Yeah, the tunes are impossibly light, but there is substance that keeps them grounded. Happy music. Stuff that manages to please without pandering or resorting to insipid clichés. Andrew simply makes music that will leave a smile on even the most dour of countenances. Purty purty purty, man.
Ah, this eleven-song batch of light, breezy pop is just what I needed right now. It's the type of music you want to hear in the spring, and since spring in Seattle is a generally wet affair, I can just stay indoors and play this all day. The music is just the right combination of the Zombies and Beach Boys, with a hint of later Teenage Fanclub, alternating between the simple jangly acoustic pop in "It May Never Happen" or "I Wish You Would" and fully orchestrated tunes, like "Tears Anyway" and "High Tower". The Andrew is actually Andrew Sandoval, and he's backed by David Nolte on bass and Ric Menck on drums (how fitting!), as well as a few other guests here and there. This is a top quality pop record, indeed!
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. 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 purring 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 listen....you'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
Andrew continues his "beautiful story" with the orchestral sounds of Roger Neill, creating another lovely piece of baroque-pop ...Ric Menck is behind the drum-stool, it seems that he's contributing some of his own band's feel too, namely in the opening "I Wish You Would" and "Friend Of Mine," also adding a bit of fellow L.A. popster, Brian Kassan's "chewy" sophistication. Andrew says that he can't remember where the inspiration for "Allyn White" comes from, but to me, it kinda rings the "bells of Chil-tones," and I'm almost sure that the same "tones" made him dream the "Strange Dreams," an imaginary orchestrated Big Star outtake. I'm sure most of you will take special notice of the appearance of The Cyrkle's Tom Dawes on "He Can Fly," a possible album highlight, being a song that Paul Bevoir had always dreamed of making, and there's also another tiny little Cyrkle tribute in "High Tower," which contains a line "... sing-a-long with Tom and Don ...". Other "baroque" delights include "If I See You Smile" and "Tears Anyway," harmonium/trombone/French horn leaden popsike numbers, the closing late'60s/early'70s Wilsonian title tune, and there's also "It May Never Happen," recalling so many great things at once, from the Byrds/Fanclub folk-rocking jangle, to the somewhat distant vibe of The Eyes' version of "As Tears Go By."
Another highlight must be the perfectly chosen cover of Dion & The Wonderers' tune "Now," here sounding like the most magical of "flights", with Gene Clark as a captain of the "trip", with or without the Byrds.
I don't know about Andrew's reasons for coming up with the album/song title, but I know I sure am "happy for him to be here" ..... and I know that you'll be too, after listening to this album. -Goran Obradovic
Whenever you see an album on CD that still is split into "side one" and "side two" when the tracks are listed, it's likely the musicians are nostalgic for something about the time when records were the norm. In the case of Andrew and his Happy to Be Here album, it's an obvious longing for the AM radio days, for the time when the two-and-a-half-minute catchy pop song was celebrated. Happy to Be Here is filled with 11 such songs, all sublimely melodic songs leaning toward the orchestral-pop of groups like the Zombies (and their modern offspring, the Pernice Brothers). With Ric Menck of Velvet Crush playing drums, Brian Kehew of the Moog Cookbook co-producing and harmonium and harmonies featured all over the place, the 60s are definitely a touchstone, yet nothing here sounds retro or uncomfortably imitative. The songs sound fresh. And if Andrew's singing voice isn't remarkable, his songs most decidedly are. Sometimes the song is the thing; Happy to Be Here's songs are gorgeous, buoyant, and magnificent. -Dave Heaton
Yellowed photographs and overlong, unedited 8mm home movies; sunny days drowsing on the back porch; and the first days of an early love. Andrew Sandoval's Happy To Be Here paints pictures of days gone by: a nostalgic trip to the past, slightly sad but shimmering with sparkling pop craft. Happy To Be Here is a brief and lovely album of lush, orchestrated pop, reminiscent of Matthew Sweet and The Beach Boys, The Zombies and label mate Allen Clapp. Splitting his CD over an imaginary two vinyl sides, Andrew isn't afraid to wear his generational influences on his sleeve, yet still manages to sound vital and young. Happy To Be Here isn't revolutionary in doing what it does, but it's a perfect soundtrack for the lazy summer season that lies ahead. A lovely tribute to days gone by. - Stein Haukland
Bucketfull Of Brains:
Like a perfect echo, the music of Andrew (Sandoval) carries with it the spirit of great '60s pop, expanding on it even - with subtle textural and sonic innovation -without falling prey to simple nostalgia. Much like his 2001 opus, A Beautiful Story, Happy To Be Here is gorgeously constructed baroque rock. Picking up the long abandoned strand of dark orchestral pop exemplified by late-period Zombies, the Left Banke, Love circa Forever Changes, and "Eleanor Rigby"-era Beatles, Sandoval is a happy anachronism, without much fanfare writing songs and composing music that will hold up decades from now (and far outdistances most of the so-called "orchestral" indie pop making the rounds now). A recording engineer and producer who has worked on dozens of projects and reissues (including lots of repackages chronicling the first wave of West Coast rock), here he brings in Ric Menck (of Velvet Crush) on drums and David Nolte (the Last) on bass, plus original Cyrkle man Tom Dawes on one song all of whom flesh out Sandoval's startling originality with panache. Many tracks, such as "Tears Anyway" and the gently gliding "AlIyn White" carry with them the formality of classical music composition, while others, particularly the shimmering "It May Never Happen," jangle on a bed of Rickenbacker guitars as if Gene Clark never left the Byrds. Like walking down the Sunset Strip in summer 1966, ducking into Pandora's Box, and having your head blown off, Andrew Sandoval's music is a fresh breath for these darkly cynical times. Also available: a companion EP culled from the same sessions - Happily Ever After. - Luke Torn
Andrew Sandoval's brand of orchestral pop is so damn good it's amazing that he isn't some sort of huge indie star. This is a gorgeous, sun-drenched record. - Kevin
Pop Culture Press:
A pop classicist of the highest order, his solo albums are wonders to behold, and ride the cusp of baroque and orchestrated pop while simultaneously carrying so much melodic depth that it's a shame this music is relegated to mere cultdom. Using mid-60s icons like the Left Banke, Zombies, Sergeant Pepper-era Beatles, late '60s Beach Boys, and early Love as jumping off points, Sandoval fills in the blanks left by those trailblazers with a fully realized sound that brings in harmonium and lots of Hammond organ, but never loses sight of its inherent tunefulness-it's all about the song. And what songs! From the jangly lonesomeness of "It May Never Happen" to the playful pastiche of "He Can Fly," Sandoval captures nothing so much as just the feel and emotional content of all his heroes. No small feat in my book. - Luke Torn
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