When a retro pop/rock album is as delectably dreamy, inspiringly infectious and sonically trippy as Magic Mind by San Francisco based Sandy’s, its transcendence from being any one particular vibe allows a massive wave of legendary influences to be bandied about. So as you immerse in the delirious jangle, atmospheric cool, booming percussion and etherealness of frontman/founder Alexi Glickman on the mysteriously titled “Dimension IV,” you can read in their PR materials about Bach, Brian Wilson and the Beatles.
Others may compare the killer guitar work to Aussie great Tommy Emmanuel or Big Star, while still others may refer to their surf rockiness – actually, maybe the most spot on considering that Glickman grew up writing songs and surfing in Santa Monica. While others reach for lofty (yet appropriate) comparisons and try to shed light on the concept of a journey by a couple (“Sami and Sandy,” the playfully strummed reverb happy pop-rock character study/introduction) ) n alternate mystical realm, we have to accept the fact that perhaps by design, not all the lyrics are perfectly scrutable for an easy understanding of the narrative.
Yet what we can do, even without those is insert ourselves into the magic, which allows us to ride on the silky, choral enhanced dreampop insanity of “Standing on the Water,” fall into the dark, hypnotic funk/rock oddities of “Sunken Cathedral,” scratch our heads at the atonal weirdness of the classically inspired 24 second snippet “Moss Landing” and regale at the spirited and expansive prog rock coolness of “Magic Mind,” which begins in a laid back, then increasingly intense, soaring Glickmanized vocal dreamscape before evolving into moody distorted guitar solo and frenetic high hat jam by the band’s other members.
Interestingly, for all of the singer’s caressing tones, one of the most compelling full length tracks is the reflective rock instrumental “Ghost Lake,” whose title is from a 1978 dance choreographed by Glickman’s recently departed father. The track, which pays beautiful homage, features the nimble, crackling and sometimes almost crying guitar perfection of Australian guitar legend Bret Garsed. One also cannot fail to mention the powerful sound design, created by Sandy’s in collaboration with studio wizard David Glasebrook of Royal Oakie Records to put the band in a unique 3D cinematic soundscape.