With a biography that states they do not want to fit into any specific musical stereotype, Dublin five piece Mr.Sands contrive to pigeon hole themselves into blues rock/hard rock genre. Formed in 2010 and with a couple of single releases from 2012 behind them, it’s taken until now to release their first self titled EP.
The four year span should allow a band the time to hone their sound away from the masses without too much intrusion and then unleash it with a bang. The whole problem with the ‘Mr.Sands EP’ is how dated it sounds. Nothing on it shows much progression musically or lyrically from the 2012 singles Don’t Stop Me and Right Behind.
With influences ranging from The Strokes to Queens Of The Stone Age, you have a huge range of material to cherry pick as inspiration for original tunes. The issue is that while these influences are admirable, the way they are assembled together is less than memorable.
Lay You Down particularly suffers from banality. Its Red Hot Chilli Pepper style guitar riffs meander along aimlessly and singer Dylan Cunningham has a competent voice but it never sounds sufficiently interesting in the way Anthony Kiedis does. It feels like Cunningham is on cruise control during some songs with the chorus of Code Black feeling as though it was sung half-heartedly. There is a lack of feeling or atmospherics and as a listener it makes you want to switch off.
Musically Code Black feels like it has escaped from the indie landfill. It starts brightly enough with a low key ringing guitar, gradually building to include deep bass lines before Cunningham vocals kick in. That’s where it stops being worthy of further listening and from thereon in it stagnates. Broken Bond suffers from the same problems as Code Black.
There are some redeeming aspects especially in JBW which injects some vitality into the song where Mr Sands add new different aspects into the mix. It crackles with static from the recording before vocal effects are applied temporarily. This is what Mr Sands need to show more of rather than produce indie by numbers. Unfortunately this EP could be more Mr Bland than Mr.Sands.