CD Review of Undressing Underwater by Rusty Anderson
Rusty Anderson:
Undressing Underwater

Reviewed by Mike Farley


alk about instant credibility. Playing guitar in Paul McCartney’s band for the last five years will do that, but the real litmus test for Rusty Anderson is whether or not the melodic genius of Sir Paul and the plethora of other artists he’s played with (Elton John, Santana, Wallflowers and Avril Lavigne, to name a few) made any kind of impact on his own songwriting. Anderson’s debut solo effort, Undressing Underwater, answers that question, and the answer is a resounding Y-E-S. There is undoubtedly a British influence to these songs, as well as nuggets of indie pop and punk, all driven by Anderson’s remarkable guitar riffs, surprisingly powerful pipes, and even some guest bass playing from McCartney himself.

Undressing Underwater starts off with a pop gem, “Hurt Myself,” so infectious it should come with some kind of warning that it will stick to your eardrums like Krazy Glue. The hook, “I could hurt myself / More than you ever could,” is simple yet paints a vivid image. “Devil’s Spaceship” shows off Anderson’s ballsy guitar slinging, and “Electric Trains” is a witty piece with melodic hooks akin to Elvis Costello or even Ray Davies. Anderson is not perfect, and misses a step with tracks like “Coming down to Earth.” But the anthemic “Damaged Goods” and endearing alt-pop of “Sentimental Chaos” are also solid pieces. Of course, there is a surf rock instrumental, “Catbox Beach,” that makes you remember that Anderson might have British influences, but is still firmly planted in Southern California.

Rusty Anderson probably won’t win any major awards with this debut, but with some of the artists who are winning awards these days, that’s not really saying much. The bottom line is that this is really good pop/rock music with top-notch musicianship. If you are a fan of the Beatles, any of the above-mentioned artists, or good songs in general, you owe it to your CD collection to give this one a spin.

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