Aretha Franklin a single by Sandra's Wedding
Sandra’s Wedding is a three-member rock band based in Goole and they present us with a new single release titled ‘Aretha Franklin’.
Their sound world is teeming with nostalgia, uncannily resembling The Smiths in its vocal style and jangly guitars. Sandra’s Wedding wanted to diverge from their previous three albums they had done over the past four years. “We wanted to create a single that was entirely its own beast, its own atmosphere and a unique feeling compared to other records we have made,” Luke Harrison, the drummer said. “We just wanted to have some fun, basically…we got the hammers out and went to town.”
Harrison is right: an entirely new approach in execution had emerged in ‘Aretha Franklin’ as it’s a lot more distorted, thicker in instrumentation, and fused with unrelenting energy right up to the end. For the past albums they have showcased a relative openness in their sound that is hard not notice in comparison. In their 2017 album Northern Power, tracks like ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Talk of Love’ possess a lightness in their easy-going guitars and carefree drums that make it extremely listenable; Hodgeson’s vocals are clean, exude a feel-good quality. The tracks have an arresting ability to make one’s head move along with its rhythm.
But the band’s experimentation with this different sound world – a more steely and funky bass line, for instance, or its vocal flicks at the end of words – doesn’t seem to convince in its overall presentation. It is a matter of interdependency between all the members in the band; how one style change has to have a profound on how the others must sound. In comparison to their 2017 songs, the guitars and bass in ‘Aretha’ move towards rock rather than the jangle and sparser sound of their previous albums; but Hodgson’s clean vocals carry over in this track which does it a disservice. His smooth range complimented seemed at one with the sound and merged as one with the band, such as a track like ‘Hollywood’; but when the instruments demand territory in this rougher audio space, so must the vocals in the form of power, subdued emotion releasing, and teetering on the boundaries of order and chaos.
It was an expectation I had that the vocal layering would begin thickening to match the intensity given by the instruments. Unfortunately, the emotion and power are a replica to what happened earlier, not evolving into anything, and alas, It destroyed my eager expectation of a burst of energy in the finale. I guess this anti-climax could have been detected by the lack of build-up towards the chorus reprisal in the second half of the track.
But, having said all of this, only the courageous experiment from what is tried and true, and ‘Aretha Franklin’ certainly is a departure from their current discography. Only time will tell if they confidently forge new territory in this new sound world with a better grip on the textures and bring us a truly exciting journey through to the end.