The Famous Sandhogs

Study of the Tasman Episodes

The album cover for this CD was, and still is, a drawing of a red guy done in marker with the name of the band and album taped onto it. This is because The Famous Sandhogs are a Wacky Band.

You know this because this album is simultaneously described as being experimental folk, folk-pop, folk-punk, folk-rock, folktronica AND a symphony on their Bandcamp.

You may be wondering what a symphony as realized by an experimental folk group would sound like. The answer to that question is that it sounds like a 23-part, more-or-less-atonal accordion, more-or-less solo (a panoply of exciting instruments come in after part iii).

Things take a change for the not-atonal-accordion-solo after part 16 - or iii-vii, which is a bombastic MIDI organ march. The remaining tracks are equally bombastic, equally wordless and equally short. (Most of the tracks on Study of the Tasman Episodes are under two minutes).

Ultimately this album is a masterpiece of atonal accordion solos, and you can download it for free on their Bandcamp,

This is an anomaly in their catalogue. Theia's Mammon: Pulul's Battle of the Brunes, which is their newest album (which, in turn, was released three months after Study of the Tasman Episodes), is not a symphony for accordion, but is instead an extremely self-consciously quirky concept album. It's fun, though.

- Topher Duguay

Published in Volume 72, Number 11 of The Uniter (November 23, 2017)

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