Album Review: The Sandwitches, ‘Our Toast’
It's always bittersweet when a band releases an album after deciding to break up, and sure enough a sense of sad parting pervades the third and final album from San Franciscan trio the Sandwitches. That said, bandmembers Heidi Alexander, Roxy Brodeur and Grace Cooper have put a unique spin on universal feelings of heartbreak and loss with music that doesn't oppress with a sense of heaviness, but instead hovers in the air like a mesh veil hanging on the breeze.
Our Toast mostly proceeds at a languid pace as electric guitars twinkle gently, Brodeur grazes her drums, and additional instruments such as piano and flute supplement the margins with color. The album's pacing and feather-light touch conjure a sense of a whole summer spent on the porch as time crawls by at its own unhurried pace. In fact, it's hard to think of lovelorn music with such a pleasant, casual vibe. At the same time, the Sandwitches demonstrate an unparalleled ability to capture the sheer, irresistible beauty that resides in the heart of all melancholy.
As this album plays, it re-creates that between-worlds sensation you get when you drift off to sleep in the middle of the day for just a few minutes -- although the Sandwitches take you to that place while keeping you spellbound. Meanwhile, longing has never quite sounded so graceful as on the album's centerpiece, the 8-minute "Dead Prudence," a song delicate enough to float away like dandelion seeds if the Sandwitches weren't so adept at tapping into the shadow of eternity that underscores impermanence.
Though never explicitly stated, Our Toast seems to whisper the message: hold onto these moments, for they'll be gone before you blink. Luckily, the Sandwitches left in their wake one last moment we can keep going back to.