Syd Barrett named Pink Floyd after two blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. But it took The Anderson Council to finish the job, by composing their own name from what remained. Although PF has faded away in acrimony, The Anderson Council keeps the retro vibe alive and well. They have persistently maintained the genre of psychedelic power pop, so that it won’t simply be hidden away in a time capsule. But on their new record, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, the band grows and advances in an interesting way, while still delivering their customary fab harmonies and energetic pop-rock.
Standout tracks include the Peter Horvath collaborations with songstress Dawn Eden Goldstein, “Alone with You” and “Times on the Thames.” Both are classic written-for-radio pop gems that would merit inclusion on Voyager’s record of Earth’s audio archetypes. Previous songs written by this nascent Lennon/McCartney-like team include “Camden Town” on Worlds Collide (2019) and “Girl on the Northern Line” [song by Goldstein, arrangement by Horvath] on Assorted Colours (2016).
Assorted Colours provides a nice overview of the band’s early catalogue. While four of the songs were new, there were also three songs each from their earliest discs: Coloursound (2001), The Fall Parade (2006), and Looking at the Stars (2012). Thus, some of their best songs were conveniently compiled in one place: “Never Stop Being ’67” (2001), “Pinkerton’s Assorted Colors”, (2006) and “We’re Like the Sun” (2012). Even so, everything The Anderson Council does is golden, because they consistently draw inspiration from the sounds of the 60s that they refuse to let die.
Yet this is what makes the new album so interesting. While largely adhering to their trusty playbook, the band branches out in a way that bears witness to their continued growth as a tight musical unit. The first track, “Tarot Toronto,” made me think of Fountains of Wayne, and therefore seemed to signal an increased willingness to draw positive musical influences from any era.
I had a grade school friend with whom I always exchanged vinyl LPs. He insisted, “You know, there’s a song about everything. You just have to keep listening until you find it.” So, I smiled when I heard The Anderson Council’s “Buying a House” on The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon. It may be only 1:51 long, but it is yet more fulfillment of that teenage prophecy.
Standout tracks on the new album include “Messes Up My Mind” and “Jump Right In.” While the former is a clear example of The Anderson Council at their concise best, the latter is a song that extends to be about twice the length of the band’s usual tune. It revels in a sonic richness that makes it a perfect completion to the album.
Also not to be missed is “Sunday Afternoon,” which even includes a magical sing-along chorus at the end and then a killer guitar solo for the outro. All together, the disc works very well as your summer soundtrack for 2023. Whether it’s blasting from your convertible at the beach, or making people dance at the BBQ picnic, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon offers 39 minutes of happy times. And that’s just groovy, baby.
Peter Horvath — Vocals, Guitars
Simon Burke — Bass Guitar, Vocals
Michael Potenza — Guitars, Vocals
Scott Jones — Drums and Percussion