Sand Fastened is the debut album by fire Zuave, the three piece creative outlet of Chuck Andrews. Andrews is a cousin to Of Montreal’s Kevin and David Barnes, and as such, fire Zuave, though unsigned, was able to sell their album through Polyvinyl Records, using the artwork of David Barnes. They’ve also had a consistent string of opening appearances for Of Montreal in 2008 and 2009.
Though their connection to Of Montreal has afforded them a bit of business assistance and some extra attention thanks to their endorsement, creatively they bear little resemblance to said band. Sand Fastened is parts of all of alt-country, garage pop, acoustic, and twang rock—Americana you could say, but it feels more like Nashville-ian rock meets mysticism, with songs about demons and gypsies and a stage show filled with all the shock of an Of Montreal gig.
Opener “Starving Like a Pack of Wolves” is the star of the album with the intensity of a heart punch, a thumping flow, yet with impassioned vocals from Andrews that carry on with an air of indifference. “Different Day” is a riff-driven song that builds and builds, only to descend into crash chords that seem to mimic the lyrics, “before you tear it down build it up again/ someone behind you could be your friend,” as Andrews’ pitch is at a high. Songs like “Translated Dragon” and “Whatever Side You’re On” are fueled by a scratchy-voiced crooning Andrews.
Sand Fastened‘s ballads, “Way We Were Before,” “Colors of the Sun” and “Emily”, establish the band’s modern hippiedom, with their mellow/hallucinatory acoustic guitar workings and lyrics that shift to more focused pining on love and past loves. With a sound that should appeal to the psychedelic crowd, Sand Fastened is a hallmark debut that likely goes unnoticed.
King of Prussia – Save the Scene
Ravens & Chimes – Reichenbach Falls
Iron & Wine – The Creek Drank the Cradle