Smile Records, 2001
REVIEW BY: George Agnos
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/10/2002
The gimmick behind the Los Angeles based rock band known as The Andersons is that they are pretending to all be brothers despite being a racially mixed band, but one thing that all of the Andersons do have in common is talent. The leader, bassist Derrick Anderson, (and the only real Anderson in the band), has written the bulk of songs for Family Secrets, and they're all winners.
Guitarist Bill Anderson (also known as Wil O'Brien), and Bob Anderson(former child actor and jack of all trades musician Robbie Rist) contribute songs as well. And with three singers and songwriters on board, it is not surprising that Family Secrets is a rather eclectic CD, although it generally does not stray too far away from a power pop sound.
Much of Family Secrets alternate between energetic rockers like "Killing Me" and "No One Rides For Free", and catchy pop numbers like "Snub" or "Ledonia B". However, whether the Andersons come up with crunchy guitar licks and snarly vocals or jangly guitars and softer vocals, the songs all manage to have good hooks.
Also peppered in the mix is the occasional power ballad. "Falling Out" and "Looking Glass" slow the tempo down and are more reflective lyrically without getting too syrupy or forgetting that this is still a rock band.
While there is generally a modern power pop take to most of the songs, occasionally they go retro with the Zombies-like "Hard". But on the other side of the spectrum, you have a song like "Looking For A Leader" which has an interesting, unusual style to it.
In what is one of the better bonus tracks I've heard, there's the novelty punk tune, "A Million Dollars For Christmas". This probably has the best shot of getting some airplay not only because it's a hoot, but because it has that punk-pop sound that's been so popular the last several years.
Overall, Family Secrets is a pretty good listen. It won't change the world, but makes for a nice diversion from it. Here's hoping this "family" doesn't stay a secret for much longer.