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SANDMOON - While We Watch The Horizon Sink - ALBUM REVIEW


While We Watch The Horizon Sink

Beirut, Lebanon

Sandmoon makes a return to TJPL NEWS this week with the release of their album 'While We Watch the Horizon Sink'. This eight-track project marks the band's third studio album that firmly sinks its teeth into the group's unique creative efforts to merge the sounds of indie folk and rock.

The album begins with 'Bearable Lightness of Being' - a piece that truly expresses the poetic skill of Arabian poets from the very first line. The lyrics are a true testament to the depth of Sandra Arslanian songwriting -"Smothered by idioms imposed on me. Values unrelated with my beliefs. I’m torn between two worlds" . The lyrics then go on to paint an image of thinking outside of the box and finding where it is that you fit in a world that boxes one in.

The instrumentation is a super chill mix of shoegaze which helps to enhance the words of the band. This is done through the superb composition technique of the band's lead vocalist, guitarist and synth player Sandra Arslanian.

'Spirals in my Head' addresses the Beirut port explosion and the covid-19 pandemic through its lyricism.

Fire is burning

And our hearts are yearning

Summer's too hot

Winter's been sold

Fear is abounding

Oh sovereignty of thoughts

We’re going nowhere

holed up as rats

A percussion lead production leads the way for the vocals to follow - this is a stunning song that merges dream pop with shoegaze to make the sound of angels merge with the words of the devil.

'Where Do We Go from Here?' is a song that I have covered before here. To recap, the song is one of if not my favourite song of Sandmoon's for its raw emotiveness. The piece addresses the mental deterioration that develops as a result of the cruel illness of Alzheimer's Disease which unfortunately is not a rare occurrence. As I'm sure many of you know, it raises questions of identity by both the sufferer and those dearest around them. When talking about these crippling times Arslanian explains that "When we’re lost, we turn to someone we trust to guide us. When that person we trust the most is lost due to a mental condition like Alzheimer, she can no longer guide us in the real world; yet she guides us within, to our hearts.” Where Do We Go from Here’ was written during the first COVID lockdown when spending a lot of time with her mother - who has Alzheimer’s.

'While We Watch the Horizon Sink' is another stunning composition. The drum rolls bring the listener into the piece, the guitar strums are dreamy, almost Coldplay in nature and the vocals are on par with one of the most sway worthy of executions. The lyrics are a collection of metaphors that are associated with water. Again, this song is among one of my top tracks for Sandmoon for the way it lifts the soul of the listener into a safe yet existential soundscape.

'Let's Start a War' continues to sweep listeners along the shores of earth, sea and air whilst warming our hearts. The way that Sandmoon have composed this project makes for flawless transitions between songs - as if we too are on their journey. Another relatable and enjoyable listen.

'Absolution' makes way for a different vocal style - one that is almost identical to Sinead O'Connor. The way that 'Absolution' has been crafted offers a space for listeners to be at one with their own thoughts and feelings through its gentle plucks and smooth vocals. If I could define this song in one word it would be "Meditation".

'Silent Leaders' leads us into the penultimate song of this album.

Things gone bad / And we’re all mad

Things gone down / And we’re all done

The song is very military, with drum tolls that are known for marches, a haunting choppy acoustic piano melody and the occasional strum of the lead guitar help to build the anticipation within the piece. The vocals are haunting, dark, sweeping and experimental. This works wonders for the versatility of the group! Those gorgeous shoegaze guitar progressions embedded themselves within the arms of the production as it briefly lifts before toning things down into eerieness once more before ending.

That brings us to the final track on the album lucky Number 8 - 'Wake Up'. The song made out Top 10 back in July here

The song urges listeners to open their minds and reflect on who they are.

Wake up

Don’t lie

In fact don't pretend

To be what you are not

Leaving listeners with such a strong message is a bold way to end an album but this works perfectly for Sandmoon. Marwan Tohme (Postcards) along with the rest of Sandmoon have produced something quite special here. I'm completely impressed by the lyrical depth and dreamy vibe that they have wrapped this album within. They are 100% a band that deserves a space in our Ones2Watch! this week.


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