Andy Reed
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Andy Reed

Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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"Fast Forward Review"

Ah, Andy Reed. Listening to "The Great Compression", his debut e.p., i knew i was in front of a great singer-songwriter. That said, i didn't imagine how much he could improve in just about a year. Ah, Andy Reed. A producer, an engineer, a multi-instrumentalist. But most important thing, he can really write a pop song, and his Fast Forward is in my 2008 top 5 so far. He plays and sings, produces and mixes almost everything here. The result is a very personal and self-confessional work, but a luminous and confident one at the same time. I think that those among my readers who are more into the "pop" side of the powerpop genre should jump all over this one.

The cd opens with The Ballad Of..., which isn't a "proper ballad" really. Infact, this is a cool up-tempo track similar to the best works of the best modern American songwriters like Jim Boggia, Jon Brion and (why not?) Michael Penn. After that, Andy slow things down a bit with the emotionally-charged piano-ballad Crazy Things, before starting The Criminal, one of the best songs on the album. The track offers a superb sunshine pop sound with a bit of jingle-jangle thrown in, and the flute arrangements fit in the part very well. The album goes on with two heavily introspective acoustic songs called Play and Novacaine, followed by two more "energetic" numbers. One is Thank You, which reminds me two Aussie faves like the recent and great Adrian Whitehead (another year's favorite in these parts) and Michael Carpenter; the other is Tied Up, a proper power pop song whose synthesizers work, big guitars and style of singing reminds me of Farrah.

Fast Forward is a relatively short 10-song-album, and there's no place for anything resembling a bad track here. Around The Town is another gem i can't put out of my head, with its almost country feeling and a very "American" use of piano, if you know what i mean. The beautifully moving Look After Me is probably the best among the ballad-styled tracks, and the album closing song Feel Like Listening?, is a fantastic nocturnal song, sparse and a bit psychedelic, reminiscent of the most "personal" John Lennon.

Dear readers, Fast Forward is another must-have if you don't want your 2008 to be incomplete. And if you love your singer-songwriter-powerpop to be very quiet and amazingly melodic you don't want to miss this one. Andy Reed is an incredibly talented author and, even if he's only at his second solo-work, he's showed us he can't do anything wrong. Go buy this one. Trust me. -

"Fast Forward Review"

Many of you may not know Michigan's Andy Reed, but those who snagged his 2006 debut EP The Great Compression certainly remember him, and now that he's released his first full-length the power pop community is going to take notice. The EP was quite good, but it didn't prepare me for how stunningly good Fast Forward is. If your tastes run in the Jon Brion/David Grahame/Emmit Rhodes/Elliott Smith area, just go ahead and click on the links below.

Two other albums that spring to mind here are the recent Adrian Whitehead disc and Braden Blake's A Year In Pajamas from 2004, pure pop with a sophisticated edge and pristine melodies. "The Ballad of...." kicks things off, and it's about a perfect an opener for this kind of sound as it switches between Brionesque balladry and Beatlesque bop without missing a beat. "Crazy Things" is a lush, string-laden number that calls to mind Jellyfish's quieter moments, while "The Criminal" and its breezy feel is Joe Pernice-meets-Paul McCartney country. "Novacaine" is as languid as its title may imply, but that doesn't mean this beautiful ballad will put you to sleep.

Meanwhile, the tempo picks up mid-album with "Thank You", a high-quality traditional power pop number in the vein of Michael Carpenter, and the Cars-like synths and distorted guitars of "Tied Up". "Around the Town" is a jaunty acoustic guitar-and-honky tonk piano number that boasts another of Reed's signature melodies, and the disc ends where it began with "Are You Listening?", another fine Brion/Beatles-influenced track that concludes with some outstanding guitar work. There's a good chance I'll be making room in year-end top 10 for this one, and you should be making room on your CD shelf as well. -

"Fast Forward Review"

You are forgiven if you never heard of Andy Reed, but you would do yourself a favor and pick up the excellent debut "Fast Forward." You'll hear the Roger Manning Jr. vibe in the opener "The Ballad of...." to start things off with an excellent melody and Beatles-styled guitar and drum work. Andy has a sweetness to his melodies that brings to mind McCartney and Curt Boettcher with a simple piano and acoustic guitar. "The Criminal" has a good story to tell as well, about broken promises and sacrifice for that one true love, and a gentle strum that reminds me of The Cyrkle or The Free Design. After the beautifully sparse ballad "Play," we get to "Novocaine" - a melancholy song about the singer's weariness and loss of confidence, much like a Gram Parsons ballad. "Thank You" is straight from the Pete Ham playbook, a song of earnest joy and love and accented by electric guitars. "Tied Up" has those little synth touches like The Cars, but the song is closer Weezer or Fountains of Wayne in spirit. The odd song out here is "Around the Town" with a mix of Michael Carpenter-like melody, handclaps and old piano sound. A good song, but Andy's vocals are too laid back for the tempo. The vocals are much better served on the closer "Are You Listening?" a fine Beatlesque mid-tempo ballad with a nice guitar solo that fades out at the end. There is plenty of great pop here, although we are a bit low on the "power" scale, fans who flip for multi-layered music with melody and harmony at the forefront will want this for sure. -

"Fast Forward Review"

t seems in these pinched times of soaring credit rates, housing foreclosures and the ascendance of oil barons that the lost art of melodic pop music provides a lonely outpost of peace, groove and harmony in an otherwise barren wasteland of discordant yet bland muzak for road zombies and country bumpkins who just wanna back that booty up, HEY, HEY, HEY and mess with the little whisky woman. Better think before you cheat, or else. This is the era of aspartame-laced music made for over-consumption – express lane cheap and downloaded in only a few seconds. You can set sales records with instantly forgettable songs sung by big breasted chanteuses who believe that DIVA is French slang for take me hard from behind.

Oh well…enough of all this and that. I'm not here to grouse about the smack-bad state of current affairs. I'm here to praise the lord and thank her for opening up the heavens and sending us Andy Reed. Bless Andy for mastering a lost form of rock n' roll back when the Beatles led the charge of a second coming, copying and then changing those original rhythms created by the likes of Ike Turner, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Berry Gordy. Others pretended to the throne – Badfinger, Emmit Rhodes, the Raspberries, Curt Boettcher, Ric Ocasek, Grapefruit and Big Star (and Andy's early band the fabulous Haskels) - to name just a few' It seems that the popularity of rock n' roll and "power pop" is continuing to shrink into smaller pockets of (extremely) devoted fans. It is within these small pockets that our beloved rock and roll continues to thrive.

Let's take a look and listen…

The Ballad of...
This is a love story about finding the "right one" …very Beatle-ish from 1967 – with an ambience that recalls the Cyrkle's Wish You Could be Here and just a hint of Strawberry Fields. Reed has a great falsetto and uses it effectively on this tune. Falsetto is a lost art and can be used to great advantage when done right - like the Tremeloes' version of Silence Is Golden. Reed's statement "Love means to me more than anything" colors the musical canvas of the entire disc – a great opener.

Crazy Things is a minor chord melancholy masterpiece filled with lost promise and regret. Things are left unsaid and the whole story – by necessity - cannot be revealed. So, secrets are hidden away and messages never get through and relationships are doomed. Given the circumstances, it could not be any other way. Look up to the sky for an answer.

The Criminal is about giving everything up in the pursuit of love. To hold the loaded gun and make promises with a heart too easily broken. Reed has an uncanny ear for the unusual and writes in twists and turns that tell a story in a most elusive way. Listen carefully and don't be swayed by the pretty music, there could be something much deeper here.

Play just might be an advertisement for MySpace. It tells the story about a girl who "puts herself online for the thousandth time". She rolls the dice and takes a turn…just for the thrill of the game. She likes men…or maybe she hates men. Reed's message is somewhat dour, if not protective. And when he sings "she's throwing it all away", he seems frightened by her inability to control herself and her addiction to the "hunt".

Novacaine has a Gram Parsons vibe and a nice Harrison-inspired slide guitar. This is the lonely man's theme filled with metaphors of self doubt and regret. When he sings about waking up numb, blind, deaf and dumb, Reed reveals the dreariness of a life that has been robbed of its joy and keeps the protagonist wallowing in unrelenting existential pain. This is a harrowing musical statement.

Thank You is a wedding vow put to music. It opens with an echoed guitar riff straight out of the Badfinger catalog of metallic power pop. This song packs a whallop yet still inspires a sense of love forever without seeming too maudlin or trite. Reed lists the component intimacies associated to such a strong bond between partners who share a deep and abiding love…laughing at secrets, sharing thoughts and meanings that are understood even without words, and growing old together. A life you make come true.

Tied up is an all-the-way Cars tribute. Power-pop at its boy meets girl, let's fall-in-love best. Ric Ocasek would be impressed, Rundgren too!

Around the Town finds Reed all jazzed-up and funky playing honky tonk piano like Scott Joplin on the intro and yet sounding like McCartney for the remainder of the song. Reed is juiced and at the top of his game here. The lyrical theme decries the public's indifference to original music in favor of songs that are known and comfortable. The message culminates in a serious exclamation point…followed by a shrug.

Look After Me is one of those trademark Andy Reed-I-Can't-Help-Myself pretty ballads. It is a humble request for acceptance despite one's flaws. The lyrics convey how hard life can be as a traveling minstrel – boredom, fatigue (mental and physical) and bad decisions. Reed sings it like a prayer.

Feel Like Listening is about trying to help someone you love and care for who has lost his way. But he doesn't want your help. The hard honesty in the lyrics is simply stunning:

Try to make the wrong feel right
Out of mind, out of sight
Do you feel like listening?

Turn your head to something new
The ones you know could easily do
Do You feel like Listening?

I could waste a lot of time
Getting things into your mind
But the words are harder to find
And the Sun is almost gone
The lie has been sold

Held my tongue, held my breath
So you could take care of the rest
You're gonna get cold

Reed's extended guitar work throughout the song and on the extended workout in the coda is pure tonal perfection. His use of minor notes and chording and an insistent foreboding wah-wah effect gives the music a pitch of danger and warning. He achieves a full-bodied David Gilmour '69 Stratocaster sound, runnin' his Telecaster through a Vox amp - an amazing sonic achievement. Reed completes the song's identity to Pink Floyd through the magic of sampling, lifting the drum tones and vocal background from Dark Side of the Moon. It's a cool technology thing.

Andy Reed with the ear of a master has re-created multi-layered music with melody and harmony, clever lyrics that tell a story (thank you John and Paul…and Burt Bacharach) and great sound. As I listen to this disc with a few friends, we are like spokes on a wheel, our eyes and ears are totally focused and directed toward the music and Andy is at the center. Fast Forward contains ten brilliant songs and clocks in at a warp speed of 33 minutes and 6 seconds. Whew…it's a great ride and gives me the kind of a gonad rush that I felt when I took my first roller coaster a ride or when I first listened to Go All the Way by the Raspberries or Badfinger's Without You. So here it is, take a ride…

Bo White - Review Magazine


2006- The Great Compression E.P.
2008- Fast Forward (currently playing on college radio)



A native of Bay City, MI, Andy Reed has been writing and recording music for the last decade for various projects. He has worked with renowned artists such as Brendan Benson and The Verve Pipe.
Andy's solo career began two years ago with the E.P. "The Great Compression", on which Andy played all the instruments, engineered, and produced the record in his home studio. Continuing with that same successful formula, Andy now presents to you his latest release "Fast Forward"