The Sandmen

Western Blood

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If the Sandmen only had one record, the pensive love song "House in the Country," they would be seen as a group that never had the opportunity to fulfill their potential. With its brooding bass, weepy slide guitar, and desperate vocals, "House in the Country" has the hooks and heart of a classic single. Unfortunately, the Sandmen decided to record an album, and the underdeveloped country and '60s garage rock of Western Blood smashes the idealized image a listener would've had if the band quickly disappeared after "House in the Country." Vocalist Allan Vegenfeldt has faithfully duplicated the unpolished snarl of his '60s proto-punk heroes, especially on "I'm Accusing You," but the lyrics are cliched and forgettable. Other than "House in the Country," the Sandmen's gritty rock and country twang simply don't mesh; it's as if the group was inspired to write one excellent song and then fell asleep at the wheel.

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