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Sandy Babes: The Sandwitches play Duck Duck Goose!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, June 30, 2010 03:50pm | Post a Comment
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There are many things to love about The Sandwitches and their latest release, the Duck Duck Goose! EP (on Empty Cellar/Secret Seven Records), serves as further proof that these ladies are not only gilding a most devastatingly alluring and emotional totem pole of a discography, but they are also among the very sagest of storytellers, which is, when you think about it, just about as artistically primal as witch's tit in a brass bra. It takes courage to create an album this dark for kids, yet it's not clear if the wee ones are really who the Sandwitches are lulling here. If storytelling, besides being the earliest of mediums in that it's the way cultural and familial values are communicated, parent to child, grants us a means by which we may overcome and deal with overpowering fears --- fear of the dark, fear of the unknown --- then there is nothing cowardly or immature about the eerie compositions that permeate this limited run, one-sided vinyl 12". Clearly the Sandwitches are not about to soften their punches, no matter how bewitchingly thrown.
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Duck Duck Goose! begins with the cooing, protracted "Stardust" --- a lush and dreamy original number that at once lives up to the descriptive "heartbreaking acoustic lullabies" label affixed to the record sleeve. In fact, it is a lullaby so heartbreaking that it seems meant to comfort a terminally ill child fearlessly into eternal sleep: "nothing to fear going into darkness/ we'll be nearer to each other." What follows is the first of two aural vignettes (the reprise closing out the recording, accordingly) wherein the echos of ghostly rounds of duck duck goose are played against the sound of nursery rhymes tapped hastily on a distant spectral piano, thus upping the spook-factor enshrouding the sessions captured for this EP, achieving an overall don't-even-think-of-exploring-that-abandoned-school-house vibe. Then "Rock of Gibraltar," a haunting cover of a Tim Cohen song that appeared as a bonus track to the excellent Two Sides of Tim Cohen album, segues into a impressionistic rendition of the bravest little Disney tear-jerker of all time, the Oscar nominated "Baby Mine" (check out the video below) . If you haven't settled down snugly into the darkness by now, or at least stopped the record to call your mom for love's sake, the Sandwitches' own "Song of Songs," another sweet 'n' simple ballad (yet less heavy than the preceding pieces), lights the night with its own slow burning wax and wick. It's enough to remind one of what it feels like to be a child, a young person guided though his or her terror by comforting voices and lilting melody. And when the ghosts appear again the heart is less anxious, the mind less afraid.sandwitches cat album cover jason faulkner artwork how to make ambient sadcake deput lp vinyl

Duck Duck Goose! is a far cry from the jaunty shoreline jams "Back to the Sea" and "Relax at the Beach" that shine on the Sandwitches' How to Make Ambient Sadcake LP. Little similarity can be drawn from these recent forlorn lullabies to the delightful weirdness of "Beatle Screams;" the b-side on the "Back to the Sea" 7" single; or the more girly, coy or downright romantic strains of "Tarantula Arms," "Kiss You Feet," or "Crabman" that make the aforementioned debut record so essential and addictive, worthy of repeated listening in all kinds of weather. However, Duck Duck Goose! seems to be made up of more intimate and saturated textures than any previous Sandwitches record, like the watercolor artwork depicted on the album's sleeve --- a medium more inherently allusive than the rigor and realism of oils; the brush and the stoke may be the same but the wash this time is rich enough to drown in, willingly.

Duck Duck Goose! was recorded and produced by Wymond Miles (Fresh & Onlys) and the initial pressing is limited to 500 copies, available now at Amoeba Music San Francisco.

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Sandwitches (15), Empty Cellar Records (4), Tim Cohen (12), Ep (2), Dumbo (2), Secret Seven Records (10), Fresh & Onlys (10), Disney (30), Review (16)