Stone solid, the people's album.
Sandstone are a classic style rock band hailing from Ireland that are already becoming major favourites in pub and club outlets all over their homeland, gaining new fans while constantly riding on their high reputation for their energy and tight performances. The band has a diverse catalogue of musical styles under their belt, demonstrating maturity and musical flexibility that clearly works. After a successful debut, 'Tides Of Opinion' is a classic rock follow-up put together with confidence, skill and power that is sure to become more successful than the last and will expose Sandstone to the limelight.
The opening track 'America' has a slightly modal introduction, starting with a repeating riff resonating with a message of warning. Cynical and bitter, the vocal melodies quietly join in as the bass gently follows the root notes of the riff providing a warm yet sinister undertone. The first half of the music remains melancholy and desolate in it's approach, the bitter lyrics the main focal point of the music until the guitars kick in and lend a heavier vibe to the music, beating life into the ballad-like track. The guitar riffs have a raw and razor-like quality to them that is perfectly suited to the defiant theme of the melody and drive the track along, into a moving solo that outlines the melody and moves into improvisation before shifting back into the repeating riffs used in the chorus. What is interesting thus far about Sandstone's music is a certain retainment of Irish folk values within their rock. This was faintly evident within 'America' and is very prominent in 'Atrophy' which is the following track. While they do not use any of the traditional instruments commonly associated with Irish folk, they do take influence from the story-like ballad structure of folk songs and make use of it readily also incorporating themes of loss, faith, tragedy and hope within their tracks; themes of which may commonly be found within Irish music. The fast paced jig structure is also often used in the choruses that Sandstone uses, giving their music real energy and life. This may be seen particularly in 'Building Castles' and 'Atrophy' which have the energy and feeling to their choruses, guitar riffs packed with a real drive that push the music along, fully intending to swamp you in their sound.
Of course there is a more serious side to Sandstone and aside from their gentle Indie style; they can really pull off real angst and emotive rock with a knife sharp edge. 'Just Forget' is a true testament to this, full of bitter regret and cynicism with rolling riffs and drum fills so typical of the sound of 'Funeral For A Friend'. As with most of the tracks on this album, the message is really carried in the sharp and direct approach to the lyrics, the band define and embellish the melody itself but it's the words that really hit home with this band. 'Just Forget' outlines a life full of mistakes and failures in life, the path to slowly going mad unfolding before a recollection of lies and deceit.
It is easy to see from this record why Sandstone have been as successful as they are, with easily accessible melodies and catchy, energetic tracks mixed occasionally with the odd serious approach and you have a record that is instantly popular with the majority of people. It may not be anything ultimately different or special but it is an album that will appeal to the majority of the population.