Reviews

Sam Wright’s Sand is in a SoCal state of mind

Sam Wright may be in New York right now, but his new single, Sand, will put you in a SoCal state of mind. In fact, the former Los Angeles resident says the song is from a collection of works he’s compiling to do just that. Sand is the second release from his forthcoming EP, Mirrors, which is scheduled to drop later this month.

Another perfect summer song for your SoCal social distance inspired barbecues (and just in time for the 4th); Sam Wright releases his homage to west coast life, Sand. A true beach bopper, infused with that Fender guitar & amp sound of early surf bands like The Ventures, The Tornadoes, The Astronauts and too many others to list here. But similar to his May 20th release Where’d You’d Go?, Sam adds his own brand of indie dream-pop to the mix and morphs the sound into a unique summer treat.

Recorded and mixed at the Oscillitarium by fellow Toronto-based friend and musician Tobin Hopwood of Possum, Sand‘s vibe is a combination of modern lo-fi and old-school surf nostalgia. The smooth tonality of layered guitar fits nicely with the simplistic instrumentation of bass, drums and just a bit of percussion. During the songs instrumental bridge, the Wright/Hopwood collaboration sonically crashes against the shore. Sounds swirl and swell into a calypso-esque guitar solo and then ultimately resolve back to the safety of their oceanic chorus and conclusion.

While Sam’s 2019 release Beach Brawl (a nice little “smack-you-in-the-face” EP that any early Hoodoo Gurus fan would approve of) displays Sam’s ability to rock, the new EP has taken him in a different direction. We caught up with Sam and asked him about what inspired the change in sound.

FTLOB: Sand and Where’d You Go? have a real mellow SoCal vibe to them. Was that intentional?

Sam W: Yes. I really enjoyed my time in LA. Sand, and the entire EP, is almost a love letter to that time. All the tracks have a washed-out, beachy, sunny vibe to them.

FTLOB: Your 2019 EP, Beach Brawl; though grittier – was obviously “surf/beach” inspired as well. Why the change in sound?

Sam W: You know, I really like the sound I got on Beach Brawl and it was super fun to make. Actually, pretty much most of my records before this are in a heavier vein. I guess for this project, I just wanted to do something different.

FTLOB: Are the songs inspired by anything specific? I mean besides your time in L.A.

Sam W: Sand, specifically, is inspired by the illusive sensuality of a “special girl“. But lyrically, I wanted to use the ocean as a metaphor.

With lines like “She washes over me when I’m not right” and “Her eyes are the key to open the sky”, Sand‘s aquatic imagery is very apparent. Lyrical symbolism is invoked throughout the song, and the soft washed-out melody puts you in a dreamy SoCal sunset kind of mood. Enjoy some sun and surf with Sam Wright and listen to Sand, out now!

Listen to more Sam Wright on Spotify.

Get all of Sam’s stuff over at Bandcamp and don’t forget to follow him on Instagram.


Find ‘Sand’ on our Surf Rock // Surf Pop playlist!

W. Chris Brown
the authorW. Chris Brown
Reviewer & Playlister
W. Chris Brown (aka reemus, aka cosmicsurivor, aka just plain ol' Chris) is the former bandmate of several projects during his time as a guitarist, singer/songwriter, beat sampler and general what-ever-you need guy. Growing up a U.S. military brat, Chris spent most of his adolescence on the road. He's lived in Japan, Germany, Norway, Honduras, and of course the United States. He has a degree in Film and Media Studies from ASU and founded songs4change - a place for music in 2011.

7 Comments

  • Love the vocals on this – the drums sounds are so remarkably clear and cool panning on the guitars too – usually buried beneath everything in most recordings.

  • “… a combination of modern lo-fi and old-school surf nostalgia” is the perfect way to describe this, and just right for summer 2020.

    The cavernous reverb is perfect here: just right to evoke those summer afternoons fading into sunsets, and that little jazzy, “off-key” note in the main riff pulling you back every time you almost focus too much on the spacier elements of the song. With the psychedelic breakdown, “Sand” feels like a trip to a west coast beach and a journey home, even from a socially-distanced room in Tokyo.

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