Intoxicating the audience with its unsophisticated swing and surprisingly brawny bassline, the groove in the new single “Sandbox” from Annie Minogue Band has got to be one of the best features the song is offering listeners this summer, but it’s not the only reason I think it’s going to hit the spot for fans of the new Americana movement. There’s something old-fashioned and homespun about the bluesy sting of the lyricism and the vocals in this track that when given the kind of rhythmic foundation they’re afforded here is guaranteed to steal the thunder away from a lagging mainstream country, folk, and rock beat in 2021. This is admittedly a throwback, but one that’s just too sexy and stylish to turn down.
The blues elements in “Sandbox” are stronger than any others, but I don’t think they get so prominent in the big picture as to define the aesthetics of Minogue as a singer. Her crooning has a lot in common with the vocal pop stars of yesteryear as well as the singer/songwriters and country troubadours who paved the way for the rebelliousness of American folk revivalists in the mid-20th century. In summary, what she’s sporting in this performance is more an amalgamation of cultures as opposed to something we can directly trace to one school of thought over another. The overarching bond in her approach? A sense of American melodicism that is impossible to escape when you’re as much a product of its exceptionally diverse tree of influences as this band is in general.
While the singing has a sincerity that is almost balladic in a few spots, it doesn’t overshadow the grit and electricity in the instrumentation at all — quite the opposite, truth be told. I think that by melding the best parts of a refined lead vocal and a restless bar band’s growl into one single, we get a better look at the best attributes the Annie Minogue Band has going for it. This is more a collective effort than it is a solo offering — that much is obvious just in examining the physicality of every working part in “Sandbox” — though I don’t get the impression that anyone is vying for the spotlight belonging to the group’s namesake singer.
If this is a decent, sample-sized offering of what the next chapter in this band’s story is going to sound like, I believe the Annie Minogue Band is going to see more success on this side of 2020 than they ever did the other. This group has been together for a while now, but they don’t sound like some of the other veteran acts I’ve reviewed in that they’re more fluid in their execution now than they were in their debut. Good things take time to cultivate in this business, and just going off of what this single tells us about where AMB is at right now, I don’t know that any critic will tell you that this isn’t the time to be keeping a close eye on their output.