Sand is the solo project of Sam Healy. He is best known as half of post-proggers North Atlantic Oscillation. The line between both of Healy’s projects is a bit blurred and for me, as a fan of his work, I have no problem with that. Sand’s first album was more sparse while “A Sleeper, Just Awake” finds Healy pushing things in a bigger, more epic fashion.
Style wise, Healy has always been a mix of Brian Wilson and Kevin Moore, for me. His love for harmonies and falsetto (a la Wilson) remain intact. While his experimentation with sounds, loops and contrast are even more to the fore on this album. “A Sleeper, Just Awake” is more of everything that I like about him.
“Mayfly” starts with a warped piano sound which leads to a very Chroma Key-esque track. Wistful melodies over a sparse atmospheric backdrop that eventually with a strong hooky chorus and some MASSIVE breaks after that – this is what Sam Healy does so damn well. It’s so dynamic and I LOVE THAT! “Long Touch Good Bye (LTGB)” is like a dream sequence which is another one of Healy’s strengths. There’s a lush nature to everything he does.
“Commitment to the Bit” is the Beatles meets Radiohead, another favorite track. “Seldom Used Furniture” also has that Chroma Key vibe to it. “Knock yourself out.” Yes I am singing the chorus in my head. And I know I keep comparing Sand to Chroma Key but the approach is similar and certainly the level of talent is equal as well. I’d love to hear Moore and Healy collaborate to be honest! They are both way ahead of the curve both in their arrangements and their sense of melody.
“Berceuse” has this moment midway through that is MASSIVE. What makes it even bigger is the delicate nature of everything around it. Incredible. “A Sleeper, Just Awake” is all about the songs and how they are framed. Beautiful, at times unconventional and yes challenging. Whether it’s the upbeat “Embers” or the pulsating electronic epic closer “Earth Mound Square,” there is nothing that this album doesn’t do well.
For those people who think prog rock is cycled neo-prog, “A Sleeper, Just Awake” is like a bucket of cold water to the face. This album is truly progressive and Sam Healy has proven yet again to be a great talent. The only complaint I have is the album cover sucks, but that’s just me nitpicking because I have to find SOMETHING wrong! “A Sleeper, Just Awake” is another victory for Sam Healy and Sand.
3. Commitment To The Bit
4. Seldom Used Furniture
9. Earth Mound Square
Label: Vineland Music
This sounds like a great album from the teaser video you put up here, I will have to definitely check it out! Lots of Darkside of the Moon essences heard in there along with other influences as well. Sand is also the name of a very rare and relatively unknown German band from 1970 that put out one album and subsequently a re-released only album several years later with extra songs called Ultrasonic Seraphim, well worth checking out so highly doubtful name copyright is not an issue here lol. This album sounds regal and full of lush tones that carry forth the Prog torch even further down the celestial space ways. With so many different facets of the Prog genre is always a joy and delight to hear artists embrace classic tones and full BIG walls of sound and put out an album that just towers as I feel this album does ten fold over. Looking forward to getting to continue to build the Prog Collective! Cheers!
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