Red Sands "Red Sands" (Electone, 2014)
Released a good few months ago on the Electone label - home to Liverpool's The Wicked Whispers.
Upon first listen to Red Sands, you're not altogether sure what's in store as they begin proceedings with what is an anticipatory slice of mellow wistfulness called 'Lady Of Spring'. It features some spangling sitar flourishes and gently woven Hammond which, although a little obvious (my choice not the group's usage) recalls a little of the embryonic efforts by such distant pioneers as Traffic, but things don't progress down that particular road for very long. Soon it's their indirect pop nous that's in focus, becoming both effective and, especially during the delightful 'So Is The Sun' and 'Mrs Cosgrove', quite infectious too.
At times the guitars and drums sound perhaps more modern-age Scottish than you'd like (Red Sands hail from around the Glasgow area) but the overall feel of the selected material brings to mind some of the innovative works that groups like, say The La's were consciously building on back in their day; although it's only a subtle reminder it's worth noting that certainly some of the vocal patterns and rhythmic pulsings here and there tend to push and pull in similar ways. I love the way they begin Side One's closer 'Painted Red' and in all honesty I would say the whole track would sound much more engaging had they chose to continue on in this slow, downbeat vein, itself quite redolent of some tasty progressive acid-folk vintage.
Alas, although the second side doesn't float my boat as much as the first does, the songs do feature some very fine drumming, and at least one or two nicely psych-toned guitar sounds can be heard filtering through. On the likes of the all too brief 'Widow's Walk', Red Sands hook you right back in again with a wonderfully understated, hazy, eastern-style groove. I'm not entirely sure whether the group is still in operation or if they've now decided called it a day but, whatever the situation, they can be sure that what they've left behind is something that's altogether worthwhile, full of intrigue, and that with each fresh new listen grows ever stronger.
Review made by Lenny Helsing/2015
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