“Sandbox” by Annie Minogue Band
In a blues verse, the tone of the singer is probably as important as the substance of the words on their own, and judging from the way she works the lines in her band’s new single “Sandbox” this July, I think it’s accurate to say that Annie Minogue knows her way around a blues verse. She steps up to the mic with so much swagger that it’s almost hard to tell how much emotional weight she’s carrying on her shoulders as a lyricist here, but with a little help from the Annie Minogue Band, she’s going to get everything off her chest inside of just a few minutes’ time.
The words in this track come alive with Minogue’s voice, and it’s obvious to me that she didn’t have to think too hard about what she’s saying here to give it the kind of passion the narrative deserves. Her soul is invested in these lyrics, as we can tell from the way she attacks the chorus so viciously without losing an inch of melodic ground on her end. She has a game plan, and she’s executing so well that it’s a wonder why she hasn’t already gone mainstream.
To be fair, I don’t know that the mainstream market fosters the kind of talent the Annie Minogue Band has been able to develop from within the American underground, and personally, I think they sound a lot more confident in themselves here than they did in 2006’s Tripping the Velvet. Gone is the uncertainty of a group that has yet to find its center despite having a namesake who can sing just about anything and sound like an angel sent from heaven bearing good news; in its place, we’ve got a strut that gets us onto the dancefloor with the beat right out of the gate.
Minogue probably could do even more with this single in a live setting than she did in the studio version of “Sandbox,” but she might have purposely given us a template performance here as a means of making the real thing even more exciting. Her command of the players and the rhythm in this song is simply spellbinding, and if it translated well on stage, I don’t anticipate there being a show in which she wouldn’t have the whole crowd cheering and hungry for more. 2021 is compensating for a whole year’s worth of live music gone down the drain, and an act like this one might be just what we need to make the summer concert season complete.
A little bit country and a lot of rock n’ roll plus a dash of blues right where we need to feel it the most, “Sandbox” epitomizes the trending Americana revival so many critics have been talking about without encapsulating the movement’s growing commercial side at all. Hipsters tried for the better part of a decade to get the blues-hybrid concept right, but in this short, sweet slice of home-style charisma, the Annie Minogue Band shows us – and them – exactly what they were doing wrong the whole time.
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