This is easily one of the best EP releases of the year so far. Who would’ve thought the perfect fusion of ukulele, horns, double-bass, and a slightly Damon Albarn-like leading voice would make for something so uplifting? (Actually, that does sound pretty good). It’s not just the building blocks of the music though, the songwriting here is top notch. Wish For The Best is an instant classic, easy to get into, fresh yet quickly familiar and comforting. That key line is crucial, one that connects in a new way, re-writing something slightly cliched and breathing new life and ideas into it. The song is so simplistic, minimalist even, but with that comes a very raw and authentic energy that just oozes musical brightness.
The EP, Glitches, imperfections and glorious quirks, from UK group The Sandboys, showcases six heartwarming, blissfully organic songs that make for the perfect go-to playlist to lighten up any rainy spring morning. Drive On You sees the core elements of the band reignited in an infectiously upbeat manner, the rhythm is addictive, as is the melody, and, once again, the lyricism. It’s a song that seems to finish all too quickly, so by all means listen two or three times over before you let yourself continue.
Count Me In softens things out again, the pure delicacy of the ukulele seems to drive the underlying energy here. The calming aura of a sea-side sunset appears – quite surprisingly, when you consider the band’s roots in the not-so-sunny North of England. It’s a well-placed piece that reminded me a little of Will and The People. As always, the hook hits with subtle strength – leaving you humming along for quite some time after the music has stopped.
Like I Used To Be is a song that feels inspiring from the offset. The chord progression, the acoustic presentation, the story-line and the personal addressing of ‘you’ involves you in the whole process and keeps you interested throughout. The musical build-up really highlights the band’s ability to compose, to craft soundscapes in addition to melodies – to design a fully immersive experience for their audience.
Following this, Path Of Least Resistance emerges as something of a missing moment from a Tarantino film. The opening riff, the haunting aura, the softly delivered leading melody, the scene setting – all of it creates a moment around you that again feeds into this belief that The Sandboys want you to witness something new and captivating within their music. This song grows stronger as it progresses and actually makes for an absolute highlight of the entire EP. The way the writers have interwoven these lines, riffs and melodies just works its magic so effortlessly.
The joyfully upbeat and hopeful More Than Enough steps up to the stage to see things to a close. The soundscape grows taller with every moment, the ukulele, the intensity with which it is played, the added instrumental elements that appear as things move forwards – you begin to feel more and more surrounded and supported with each new bar. It’s a mighty song, addictively optimistic and leaves you feeling totally ready to take on the day. I’d love to experience a live show from the band some time soon.