A Beautiful Story

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AllMusic Review by Jon "Mojo" Mills

With a quaint voice, akin to Squeeze's Chris Difford and the Beautiful South's Paul Heaton, Andrew Sandoval's plaintive songs sweetly retell stories of the ups and downs of everyday life. The major problem with this album is the song structures, which for the main part are very average. Even though the accompaniment is supplied by some of the greatest names in the pop industry, including Jon Brion, Ric Menk, and Peter Holsapple, and arrangements from noted TV and film composer Roger Neill (Air/Mike Post), the standard nature of the songs cannot be hidden. There is no disputing that the lavish arrangements featuring everything from harpsichords to harmoniums, cellos to Chamberlins, to jangling guitars and psychedelic effects is most beautiful, but when put up against the modern pop charms of the Wondermints, it becomes apparent that Andrew lacks something. However exquisite the instrumentation may be, the majority of the songs just don't stick. That's not to say though that this Baroque/pop effort is without charm, and that fans of finely crafted pop in the Beach Boys and Zombies mold will be disappointed. It's just that it isn't anything more than pretty.

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