The Upshot: Power pop that dazzles and delights, from the Bangles’ latest bass player, also frontman for the Andersons.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
These days L.A.’s Derrick Anderson plies his trade slinging bass for the Bangles, but he’s also the leader of the long-running on-again/off-again power pop troop the Andersons! (It’s not that we’re excited to tell you that – that’s the way the band writes its name.) As a result of the man’s long tenure in the guitar pop trenches, he’s made a lot of notable friends, and most of them contribute licks, harmonies and good vibes to what is surprisingly Anderson’s first solo album, A World of My Own.
Within these digital grooves you’ll find Tommy Keene, the Smithereens, Matthew Sweet and members of 20/20, Baby Lemonade, Wondermints, the Cowsills, the Muffs, Brian Wilson’s band, the Balancing Act, the Zeroes (the 1991 purple-haired L.A. wackjobs, not Javier Escovedo’s San Diego punk pioneers), his old band and his current employers. Amazingly, this cavalcade of talent does the honorable thing and stays out of their pal’s way – the spotlight never wavers from Anderson’s own estimable talents as a singer, songwriter and purveyor of fine, traditionalist rock/pop music.
“Send Me Down a Sign” and “Happiness” represent straightforward blasts of high volume hookmania, “Waiting For You” (featuring the Smithereens) and “My Prediction” work a midtempo groove with the right dollop of cream and “Something New” checks off the winsome balladry box with a flourish. Brandishing an irresistible melody and an obvious love of Paul McCartney, “A Mother’s Love” goes for sentimentality that ain’t remotely cheap, while “Checking Out” and “Stop Messin’ About” add the garage-rocking soul edge of pre-Help! Beatles. The cheerfully jangling “When I Was Your Man” has Anderson backed by the Bangles, while the lovely, folky “Spring” relegates the ladies to harmony vox while the instrumental firepower comes from the reunited Andersons!
Power pop as a genre should be played out by now due to a small circle of musicians constantly digging into the same bag of tricks. But A World of My Own proves that, in the hands of a loving, talented journeyman, those tricks still dazzle and delight.
DOWNLOAD: “Checking Out,” “Happiness,” “Spring”