Creeping up from the silence with a certain unmistakable, confident strut, we find the gilded strings of “Sami & Sandy” breaking through the darkness like the first rays of a new rising sun, clandestinely sowing the seeds of unspoken poetry that will be the basis for all charisma over the songs four and a half minutes of play.
The guitar element is indeed as much a star of the show in this track as it is fellow Magic Mind single “Ghost Lake,” and in both performances, it should be said that San Francisco psychedelic pop outfit Sandy’s sound far more devoted to the intricacies of their music than they are the big-picture cosmetics other groups on the west coast beat seem to be more than a little occupied with these days. There’s a lot more to their artistry than the simplistic ‘experimental surf’ labeling they’ve been branded with at the release of works previous to Magic Mind, and in these two songs, we’re given perhaps the most kaleidoscopic profiling of their aesthetical depth of any to have hit record store shelves since the band’s original inception. “Ghost Lake” and “Sami & Sandy” are the tent poles of an undisputed opus, and that’s obvious even without hearing the rest of their parent LP.
“Sami & Sandy” is dominated by its brooding lyricism even more than it is its instrumental prowess, but without the interplay between words and music in this track, I’m not entirely convinced it would carry the kind of sonic and emotional weight it does in this instance. Brett Garsed stops by to help out Sandy’s with the evocative “Ghost Lake,” and though his cosmic virtuosities are at first a jarring accentuation of a slow-rolling ballad, they unquestionably forge the soul of the song without out ever touching the volume knob. There’s a progressive feel to this material without fitting either track into the context of Magic Mind, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say their narratives feel unfinished by any means – quite the opposite, actually. This is the tease, the whisper from one lover to another to come hither, and certainly not the fragmented samples most prog rock fans are used to contending with ahead of a proper concept album’s official release.
I cannot wait to hear the rest of Magic Mind this summer, and if you weren’t already paying attention to Sandy’s and the Bay Area circuit they’re ripping through at the moment, this pair of singles should nudge you onto the bandwagon. There’s a chemistry between the players here, as well as external influences on the band such as David Glasebrook, the fantastic Jeremy Harris, and aforementioned guitar maestro Brett Garsed, that just can’t be faked into existence – it has to come from a natural connection between artists and medium fostered exclusively through pure love of the craft. This is by far the best coupling of tracks to come off of the same LP I’ve reviewed this late spring season, and I have a feeling they’re going to help launch Sandy’s towards the international recognition they deserve.
by Bethany Page