Michael Andrews – Spilling a Rainbow

January 01, 1970





There’s been no demand – recently, or ever, to my knowledge
– for a song on the ecstatic space that can result from being “gassed” prior to
dental work. Yet Michael Andrews opens Spilling
a Rainbow
with a song about this very thing. As it happens, a similar
notion — of doing some sort of creative writing related to the experience —
has occurred to me, in the way that ideas can masquerade as irreplaceable
revelations when they manifest under the influence of some mind-alterer or
other. That he starts his latest full-length with “Dentist” sends a flare up
for anyone unfamiliar with Andrews’ alternative coloring book, which traffics
mostly in slightly altered pastels.


My introduction to Andrews came via his Me and You and Everyone We Know soundtrack – the film’s on my
unpublished “Best of the last 10 years” list. Interestingly, Amazon customer
ratings for the gently quirky film and the gently quirky music that helped
communicate writer/director/actress Miranda July’s intermittent outlandishness
reveal that, as of July 31, 2012, seven people love the music, while a
significant portion of 140 raters have been confused, disturbed and/or bored by
the film. Andrews’ name originally gained greater prominence per his Donnie Darko soundtrack. He also
contributed music to the cult fave series, Freaks
and Geeks
.  And, as “Elgin Park,”
Andrews plays guitar with the acid jazz/funk band, Greyboy Allstars, and has
released an album with the band thereby named.


When left alone with himself, Andrews’s sounds are generally
subdued, with flowery textures and shading. “Here We Are,” the pop song that
follows “Dentist,” could be taken from the Kinks’ more pastoral/less rock
guidebook, and would fall easily into step with a set featuring Kelley Stoltz,
Papercuts, James Yuill, and  Jonquil. As
would most of the tracks on this CD, including the lovely “My Warming World.”
That the latter is one of the best pop songs I’ve heard this year may not do
much for Andrews, who mixes mid-tempo, quiet pop with enough dissonance,
near-ambience and oddity to confound listeners and categories.


You might say that Andrews solo is a contemporary Van Dyke
Parks, achieving a similarly disorienting (or slightly so) feeling by mixing
sounds as he does – and taking into consideration the relatively groundbreaking
nature of Parks’ innovations. While a continuous run of  Spilling
a Rainbow
  grows somewhat distancing
and claustrophobic (an unusual combination, but there it is), the worthiest
tracks merit every penny of consumers’ dollars. And Andrews’ skills (the
composer and guitarist also plays the piano, the cello, the marimba, bass
guitar, and drums) should continue to attract filmmakers and free-wheeling


Warming World,” “Breathing His Last,” “Spilling a Rainbow” MARY LEARY

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