Sandbox: The Music Of Mark Sandman

Mark Sandman

Hi-N-Dry, 2004

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


Posthumous releases typically are patched-together works and are usually compiled under the best intentions. Yes, people are going to make more money off the artist, but generally, the people who do the compiling have a genuine respect for the musician. Still, my general consensus is that for about 90 percent of the time, an artist leaves these tracks off of albums for a reason.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

In the case of Sandbox: The Music of Mark Sandman, the compilation represents Mark Sandman's work with his bandmates from Morphine and Treat Her Right. In addition, Sandbox represents Sandman's work with various artists he bumped in to when he was mulling about the Boston scene, ducking into bars and absorbing the sounds of the city.

Two distinct bands and some other musicians... already Sandbox sounds like it could be a mess. However, with one listen you could easily mistake it for an ambitious double-album recorded by Mark Sandman as a solo project. In addition to some superior recording quality, the general themes of solitude, dangerous women and the love of the written word permeate virtually all of the 30-plus songs on Sandbox.

In Sandbox, the listener gets to hear virtually all of Sandman's guises: the daydreamer ("I Can Do That"), the quirky humorist ("Riley the Dog") and the romantic ("Get Along"). "Hotel Room,""Bathtub" and "Justine" have the smokey, late-night grooves that many Morphine fans have been accustomed to.

No doubt hardcore Morphine/Treat Her Right/Mark Sandman fans will want to scoop up Sandbox. However, even casual fans will want to check out this double-album. It goes far more than being a nostalgic piece to Sandman's legacy. As a whole, the album is one of the few double-length CDs that justifies the length.

Unfortunately, Sandbox is a bit hard to find at the moment. As of February 27,'s Web site stated that Sandbox will be unavailable until a final agreement is reached between Ryko and Hi-N-Dry. The record label said there will be a resolution soon. Still, if you can find a local record store that currently stocks Sandbox, by all means, pick it up. It's an album worthy of a scavenger hunt.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2005 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Hi-N-Dry, and is used for informational purposes only.