With summer coming up, it seems like the perfect time to find that next epic mix of road trip worthy music. This becomes a more significant challenge as families look for something that is not too dark, dripping with foul language or not lighthearted enough for a car sing-a-long. A British band that has finally leaped the Atlantic to share their spin on beach-worthy music may be just the answer. The Sandboys latest album “Glitches, Imperfections & Glorious Quirks” might be that big summer mix.
The album is made up of 6 tracks by Mark Miller and Ben Harrison. Miller handles the songwriting, vocals and often plays the guitar. Harrison commands the instrumentals with his expert Cello talents. This duo has created something one won’t find anywhere else, a style of music they refer to as Cellele Music.
This quirky British duo has set out to make music that makes them happy, and this meant often coloring outside of the lines so to speak. They have borrowed a bit from a variety of styles to create an upbeat and carefree sound that even though it is different seems oddly familiar. They cover everything from a Caribbean flair found in calypso music, bluegrass, country, jazz, pop and folk music nicely in one single package.
“Glitches, Imperfections & Glorious Quirks” not only transports the audience to a happier place but also travels back in time. American listeners may hear songs that remind them of Elvis at the beach or the likes of The Monkeys. These songs could readily lend themselves to fun series of video adventures that made The Monkeys famous in their time.
For new fans, “Wish For The Best” is an excellent opening introduction to the vocals of Miller. The addition of the trump in the song adds a bit beyond the traditional beach sound. This song is all about being the best one can be instead of getting caught in that feeling like things are too perfect
“Drive You On” continues the positive momentum with a bit of a faster tempo. It too is all about making sure success and happiness are well within the control of the listener and no one else. This tune gets a bit more folk-oriented as Miller challenges the listener to find their happy place and not strive for what others see as success. This is the type of happy song you can easily pick-up but can miss the underlying message if you miss even a small part of the song.
Many of the songs have this feel good tempo but also have a more profound message. It is not all about being happy just to be satisfied but finding internal peace. “Count Me In” is another song within a song. The tropical feeling music is great for sharing over drinks on the beach, but there is also a lesson to be learned.
This is all about taking a chance on being happy, and knowing the right people will be there along the way. The undertones of the British ska-movement from decades back is present in this tune.
“Like I Used To Be” is a nod to a missed opportunity at love if one takes a more in-depth listen to the lyrics. At first the upbeat, almost big band sound brings the listener to a blind date of sorts with a new neighbor. The problem being is the fact that this new person is the carefree version of Miller. The new friend is the person Miller was before he was burned by love in the past. It is easier to sing along with the carefree tune than listen to the sad message it hides.
As the album winds down, the tempo slows with “Path of Least Resistance” with a bit of a darker tune. The mix of sounds is the same, but the happiness is perhaps tarnished a bit. Even The Sandboys can’t be happy all of the time. This tune pushes the idea of fitting into a place of not being happy. It seems taking a stand may be lonely at first but in the end the better path to true happiness.
“More Than Enough” ends the album with the same happiness that it started with. This is a quirky love song that reminds the listener that at some point in time we all end up in a place where love is everything we need. The mix of instruments on this single add to the fun factor and pay tribute to bluegrass and jazz as well.