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MP3 Andrew - Million Dollar Move

Baroque pop, chamber pop, power pop

5 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Retro-Rock, POP: Chamber Pop

"Million Dollar Movie," CD-EP
eggBERT, 1997

I don''t know exactly how it happened, but somehow Andrew Sandoval played his way into my heart. It started with the lovely 7" "Dream About You" - whose cover is one of the nicest I''ve seen, by the way, and whose both songs are included here - and was completed after a few listenings to this new CD-EP of his.

Opening "The Man Who Would Be King" sounds like one of the best pop songs Young Fresh Fellows never wrote and from there it only gets better. Jangly, crystal clear guitars, acoustic guitars and tambourines alongside organs, strings, horns, mellotrons and a number of other instruments lift these pop songs well above the average. Especially the string and horn arrangements on "Dream About You" are splendid - ought to make Noel Gallagher green of envy (if he had known the meaning of that word, that is) - as is the organ on "Here, Hear", played by no one else but ex-dB''s Peter Holsapple. And despite "Nobody''s Someone" not being one of Bee Gees'' best songs it is once again proved by Sandoval''s cover version what great pop songs Bee Gees once wrote. (No, I''m not kidding. Almost every Bee Gees record from the ''60s, before they turned first to disco then old, is very good or better.)

Sandoval''s lyrics are also very easy to be sympathetic to. From the almost obsessed guy in "Dream About You" to the insecure, sometimes confusing, yet, I imagine, almost overwhelmingly grateful state in "What Do You See In Me?" it''s not hard to see yourself in the same positions. Which is probably one of the strongest reasons why this record sounds almost like a letter from a friend.

But okay, I must admit it, it isn''t the songs alone that makes me feel this affectionate towards Sandoval, it''s also his general appearance. From the personal pictures of himself on the cover to the "Here I am, an ordinary guy that has written a couple of pop songs and it''d honestly make me really happy, yes it would mean the world to me, if you''d be interested in them and you''d be my friend if only for listening, and if you happen to like them and they come to mean something special to you I''d be even more thrilled" attitude this is so far from so many of today''s "hip" (particularly British) pop bands that I can''t but surrender. It''s honest, it''s friendly, it''s inviting and most of all it''s totally disarming.


Los Angeles New Times
"Million Dollar Movie"
In July BAM published its so-called "California 50," a critics compendium of "the greatest rock ''n'' roll albums ever to emanate from the Golden State," or so it promised on the cover. Some of the choices were apropos and expected (Pet Sounds and Los Angeles held the top two slots, while records from Neil Young, the Doors, the Byrds, and Moby Grape followed); you could see them coming. A few selections were surprising enough (Love''s Forever Changes, a record no one actually listens to, ranked third), while even more were inexplicable (Get the Knack? Not on your life). Ever since the issue''s publication, readers have fired off missives wondering why their fave Cali disc didn''t make the cut-usually something by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but those are BAM readers for you. But overall, the list, loaded with pop promises and punk poetry and country whispers and gangsta growls, provided a wonderful place to start for those who want to understand what it means to make music at the end of the world.

Andrew Sandoval did not make this list, perhaps because he has no full-length record to call his own; he has so far released only singles and, now, an EP. No matter: Sandoval, the man keeping the Monkees alive over at Rhino, is a California 50 unto himself, a man whose heart beats in time to the shifts in the fault line. He''s far more than a pure-pop fetishist-he has single handedly created his own Paisley Underground 14 years after the original "scene" disappeared, killed off by extravagant record deals and unfulfilled promises. On singles and in concert, Sandoval has surrounded himself with the likes of bassist David Jenkins, drummer-singer Jim Laspesa, multi-instrumentalist Kristian Hoffman, and other like-minded musicians who fantasize about in L.A. that hasn''t existed in 15-or, more like it, 30-years.

There''s a reason Sandoval credits his songs to Greener Days Publishing: He and his pals just aren''t made for these times, as their hero Brian Wilson once proclaimed. Along with such bands as baby Lemonade and the Negro Problem, other revisionist wonders, they would have been stars in 1966, heroes of a Sunset Strip drenched in pretty plastic. But now they create their magical pop in anonymity, holding day jobs and rarely playing out nights. On the back of his first disc, the five-song Million Dollar Movie, Sandoval can be seen reading an old book titles Nobody Listens to Andrew, and it''s a shame.

Million Dollar Movie is the sort of record made by-and so very much for-people who like their pop music big and beautiful, who want their records to comfort them instead of merely entertain them. Sandoval''s music wraps you in cellos and violins, French horns and 12-string guitars, harpsichords and oboes-it''s crafted deliberate, perfect. From beginning, from the first millisecond of "The Man Who Would be King" (and that would be Sandoval), Million Dollar Movie conjures memories of every single Byrds hit, then slides into the heavy orchestrated glory of Pet Sounds with "Dream About You." And it takes a real man to pour extra syrup over the Bee Gees'' "Nobody''s Someone," which is so sad and lovely it''s like listening to a frown.

The lyrics-these are love songs all, each about different states on longing and loss-are almost meaningless; the music conveys the message, the emotion, the bald-faced desire. Besides, a cynic doesn''t make records like this. This is music carefully, delicately constructed by someone who believes that everything-life, love, records-will one day be better than it is now. And Sandoval''s voice, so small and pretty and reminiscent of Squeeze''s Glen Tillbrook, can''t hide anything.

–Robert Wilonsky

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