Review: Sand Snowman - The World’s Not Worth It (2011)


artist: Sand Snow­man
release: The World’s Not Worth It
format: LP, 2xCD
year of release: 2011
label: Tone­float
dur­a­tion: 43:09

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

It’s always a great pleas­ure to be able to fol­low an artist from humble begin­nings to a won­der­ful present. Sand Snow­man is one of those artists who I’ve been lucky enough to fol­low since the first release Moth Dream, five years ago. Since that time, Sand has refined his style of psy­che­delic folk to a high degree. His early com­pos­i­tions where a bit too inco­her­ent at times, not all ele­ments work­ing together all the time, but this has changed in his latest few albums, all of which were excel­lent.

Two Way Mir­ror, released on tone­float over two years ago, was already a great work, with won­der­ful exper­i­mental ele­ments on piano and acous­tic gui­tar, a mix­ture of song and sound­scape. Last year’s Nos­tal­gia Ever After on Beta-lactam Ring was an exper­i­mental return into the psy­che­delic folk rock ter­rit­ory of Moth Dream, but Sand returns to calmer shores with this year’s fol­lowup.

The World’s Not Worth It is an uncom­monly strong work in itself, with a won­der­ful flow of atmo­spheres and melod­ies. The open­ing track is slightly mys­ter­i­ous and omin­ous, and sets the tone with a nos­tal­gic com­bin­a­tion of fin­ger­picked melody, flute, and Moon­swift’s dreamy vocals. “Ice and Rain­bows” adds gentle drums, bass, and a bit of elec­tric gui­tar into the equa­tion, as well as a longer, more drawn out com­pos­i­tion, whilst retain­ing the ori­ginal and magical mood. “Under the Stares” shines because of its great piano work, com­pris­ing some won­der­ful impro­visa­tion as well as a very mem­or­able return­ing theme. “A Life Rehearsed” once again fea­tures Steven Wilson on guest vocals, and it is the most tra­di­tion­ally song-like track on the album, a gently flow­ing pro­gress­ive folk/rock track.

After this more intense cent­ral track, we return to a more con­tem­plat­ive mode with “Regal Sea­son”, a great mys­ter­i­ous piece for piano, gui­tar, dreamy flute, and voice (Moon­swift again), crowned by a fin­ger­picked solo near the end­ing. “Events in a Sky­line” is even more won­der­ful, a tran­quil instru­mental mainly based on piano, with a dis­tinct jazzy touch, open­ing up won­der­ful vis­tas in your mind. This is one of those tracks with a power of its own that’s always there, within the album, but also sep­ar­ate, as a work onto itself. The clos­ing track adds a touch of psy­che­delic folk rock to fin­ish the album off on a quirky note.

Lots of words for the main album, which comes highly recom­men­ded for lov­ers of psy­che­delia and folk. But of course, there are some extras to this tone­float release. The LP edi­tion comes with a extra CD copy, but more import­antly, the 2CD edi­tion has a bonus album entitled Van­ished Chapters. If it’s any­thing like the dreamy sound­scapes of The Mag­pie House, which accom­pan­ied the 2CD edi­tion of Two Way Mir­ror, it’s very much worth your time.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Sam­hain Rain - Arise (4:05)
2. Ice and Rain­bows (7:12)
3. Under the Stares (9:24)
4. A Life Rehearsed (6:21)
5. Regal Sea­son (4:42)
6. Events in a Sky­line (5:58)
7. The Rebel’s Rule­book (5:27)

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