REVIEW: Sandy’s — Magic Mind (LP)
Great albums do so much more than create sonic expressiveness; they provide us a visual experience through the texture and tonality that comprise their every melody. With a little help from Royal Oakie Records’ David Glasebrook, Jeremy Harris, Brett Garsed, and inspiration from the likes of Debussy and the NorCal landscape itself, Sandy’s deliver such an album in their new LP Magic Mind, a nine-track opus that doesn’t rely on conventionalities to make a profoundly poetic statement with its content. From the relatively swaggering “Sami & Sandy” to the autumnal neo-shoegazer “Collapsing Star,” Magic Mind rarely feels like it is driven by musical might exclusively, but instead by the literal physicality of its rhythm and harmonies.
Sandy’s leader, the incomparable Alexi Glickman, envisioned a record in this piece essentially following a glimpse into an alternate universe through the eyes of an ‘archetypal couple’ who face numerous tests and psychedelic-style teaching moments, all the while cultivating a love that becomes unbreakable by the conclusion of the album. The title cut and “Sunken Cathedral” feel the most deliberately progressive of the nine songs here, but the fluidity of the tracklist is never reliant on outright camp, frilly lyrical subtext, or otherwise out of place theatrics. It starts with the mood of the music, pressing us forward with each song through subtlety over decadence.
Tonal surrealism takes center stage for the balladic “Ghost Lake,” hypnotic “Collapsing Star,” and rousing “Standing on the Water,” lending the aesthetics of each song over to post-punk eroticisms other acts have flirted with — but few have captured with any substantial wit (in 2021, at least). Sandy’s aren’t afraid to utilize overindulgence in a manner that expands on a seemingly simplistic, lyric-based narrative where their contemporaries would just as soon step away from the very notion, and that will likely play a part in their winning the favor of discriminating music enthusiasts with Magic Mind this summer and beyond.
The reflectiveness of “Dimension IV” doesn’t find a cathartic answer to the questions it poses before our implied protagonists in the story until we reach the climactic one-two punch of the leering “Calabi Yau” and “Magic Mind,” which conclude the album with nine and a half minutes of pure poetic brilliance conveyed through music and verses alike and allows for everything in between to feel all the more cohesive. In this LP, the concept of mortality doesn’t have the romantic sensibilities it’s frequently presented with in other alternative rock affairs; it’s raw, uncompromising, and tasked with imparting a lesson to us on its own, and while that might be jarring to some listeners, it’s aligned with the unpredictability of real-life in a way that is certain to resonate with countless others.
A strange fusion of indie rock, electronic-tinged chamber pop, vaporwave, postmodern noise pop, and even a hint of neo-psychedelia just for good measure, Magic Mind is a release simply too provocative and moving to be ignored by any self-respecting music lover this summer. Sandy’s are a darling of the Bay Area scene well-deserving of the international spotlight this album is almost guaranteed to win them, and considering the remarkable deficit in compelling songcraft to debut out of the American underground in the past pandemic-ridden year, an LP of this caliber has every opportunity to become a Zen Arcade-like watershed for aging Millennials and the curiously discriminating tastes of Generation Z the same.