The Andersons

The Andersons

Family Secrets

Smile

There must be something wrong with me for liking this disc. There’s absolutely nothing to it at all; it’s California power-pop without a surprising bone in its body, and I’m sure other critics are just lining up to shit all over it. But I don’t know, man; maybe I just got laid or something. All I know is that I keep playing the thing.

Here’s the deal: all the guys in the group use the last name “Anderson.” Derrick, the black Anderson, plays bass and writes most of the songs and sings the ones he writes; Bill and Bob, the white Andersons, both play guitar and sing less frequently because they only write a couple of songs; Marcos, the Latino Anderson, plays drums. That’s it, man — they’re basic, and they play basic party songs that sound like The Knack and The Tubes and Cheap Trick and a bunch of bands that are much better than The Andersons probably are.

But that doesn’t change the fact that this album is fun as hell. Derrick’s songs are straightforward and have more hooks than the oldest catfish in the pond; I especially appreciate “Ledonia B.,” which is the nicest song about a guy paying a hooker for S&M sex you’ll ever hear, and he shows a nice piece of wit on “Snub”: “Stock up on your silver liners/I love the little ‘isms’ that you spout/You’re so damned addictive.” Bill’s songs sound a lot like Velvet Crush to me: “Falling Out” must be an outtake from Teenage Symphonies to God or something. And Bob’s big feature song, “Apology,” shows off his only-dogs-can-hear folkrock countertenor. It’s painful, but I like it.

So, yeah, it’s probably no good if you’re a big music snob. But being a big music snob is vastly overrated. Have some fun, you bastards!

Smile Records: http://www.smilerecords.homestead.com

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