Rusty Anderson – Undressing Underwater (CD)

The laid-back sounds of Rusty Anderson at the beginning of “Undressing Underwater” really is a nice introduction for fans who might not know the artist. This is pretty much removed from any distinct style of music, eliciting pop-rock, indie, frat-rock and Fastball all in one very smoothed-out sounding bundle. The harder edge of “Devil’s Spaceship” is proper concerning the name, and it is through this sea change in style that individuals can see the brilliance in which Anderson creates eir music. The shrill guitar work on the track is easily the equivalent of the best created in the current period. Hell, there’s even a “Joe’s Garage”-like breakdown present in this driven track.

The aural experience present on “Undressing Underwater” is the equivalent to the bevy of interesting sites one must see when they go deep-sea diving; different sounds will titillate listeners and make them wonder what is still to come. “Damaged Goods” really moves away from the harder sound of tracks like “Devil’s Spaceship” and explores a little more seriously the Beach Boys/Elvis Costello style of things. The nuanced sound and strength of composition is still present, and Rusty has really brought another different style to eir listeners. Vacillating between the light (Damaged Goods, Coming Down To Earth) and the dark (Devil’s Spaceship, Ol’ Sparky), Randy sets up this battle for the ages. This battle is not simply dichotomous; what really will get listeners to focus in more intently are the minor battles and shared features of both styles of music.

The nicest thing about “Undressing Underwater” might be the complete 180 that the disc does after the mid-way point; “Catbox Beach” is a track that does not have an analogue anywhere else on the disc, as it takes from the surf genre most heavily for its influence. Throwing in a little reggae/ska influence for the second half of the track, “Catbox Beach” may just be a hint for what the next Rusty Anderson disc may sound like. “Ishmael” makes the strongest case for radio play, as the catchy vocals of Anderson mix with ZZ Top meets Santana guitar riffs for a lively sound that does not sound trite or overblown. The disc may not have an overarching theme but is a collection of tracks that always maintain themselves well in the “pop-rock” side of things without removing any of the artistic merit of Rusty Anderson (who has enough to spare).

Top Tracks: Sentimental Chaos, Ishmael

Rating: 5.8/10

Rusty Anderson – Undressing Underwater / 2005 Surfdog / 10 Tracks /http://www.rustyanderson.com / http://www.surfdog.com / Reviewed 05 October 2005

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