If you’ve ever wanted to travel back to simpler times, stalking around the California deserts with the perfect song playing softly in the background, Lovely Sand Dunes have you covered. Hailing from Los Angeles, this three-piece rock band is encapsulating those sweet-sounding sentiments with their latest EP, Unusual Times, released June 7. Comprised of five tracks, this record leads listeners into the band’s stellar songwriting and unapologetic rawness. Underneath that sound, however, is a hidden gem that will have you thinking back to your own youth and pondering more about the world than you may have bargained for.
With influences like Pearl Jam, Eminiem, and Red Hot Chilli Peppers, pinpointing one style for Lovely Sand Dunes is tougher than anticipated. Unusual Times, recorded on vintage gear, stays true to the classics, though, all while throwing in some modern twists of its own. Beach rock meets indie in the record’s opening track, “Can’t Be Said,” Anthony Zelaya’s Eagles-esque guitar meshing into softer tones. There is an intriguing urgency in lead singer Claire French’s rasp, as she sings about being on her own. “Not A Love Song,” a track written before the band was fully formed, proves that the stripped-back sound can stand its own. Gavin Ortiz provides a solid backbone, his soft beat carrying this sure-to-be favorite though. It is not a love song, as the song states, yet the aching of giving your heart to someone else is still present in every syllable.
Lovely Sand Dunes present evocative themes of love, loss, and vulnerability, crafting those feelings so they can connect with everyone. “Past Days,” with its haunting melody and fading vocals, creates something eerily comforting for the ear. French sings of looking back on the past and wanting to let those memories go, singing “we’ve got to save ourselves from ourselves somehow.” While “Ghost” is more jam-session oriented, not unlike the band’s own songwriting process, it still speaks for the past selves that aren’t ready to leave just yet. Unusual Times ends with “Children,” a Woodstock-ready ballad that strikes the most sensitive chords within. It leaves you with one thought as the record comes to a close: “you said that everything was going to be alright.” It is an ode to the world we are promised and the world we end up in; this record highlights that what we make of it is what really matters.
Life certainly brings some unusual times (pun fully intended). Whether it’s the world we’re living in, or the growth that happens along the way, we're all just as confused, scared, and inspired as the next person. Lovely Sand Dunes express those feelings for us, bringing forth provoking and insightful lyrics to cling to when needed. Unusual Times is a record you can lose yourself in in more ways than one. It is the soundtrack to all of your seventies summer fantasies, and a sign that great things are ahead for this group.
Listen to Unusual Times on Spotify
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