Not without reason, people give The Cure a lot of shit for being, in the words of Jessica Hopper, “magnets for the devotion of teenage weridos.” (she was talking about Dinosaur Jr. but whatever.) Which is probably why the press for Andrew Sands’ latest single, released under the moniker SANDS, mentions a list of musicians and bands that are not the Cure: Neil Young, The Smiths, David Bowie, Stone Roses, Spiritualized, Primal Scream….David Lynch? That’s just a sampler. Sure, “Celebrate” has a little bit of Johnny Marr’s twangy guitar looping in the background and he flattens his English accent in the same way Ian Brown does on “I Wanna Be Adored” but whence a man sings about cobwebs, mysterious jungles, and heaven, whence a man sings in the key of Mr. Robert Smith, who last I heard, was lending his vocals to a Twilight Sad album.
“Just Like Heaven”-era Cure is Sands’ reference with a touch of Pornography‘s gothic imagery and some of what that era’s version of New Order sounded like (“Age of Consent,” sans-drum machines). At first listen, “Celebrate” sounds more concerned with getting you moving than even Bernard Summer was back then: every echo is put to use frantically generating the atmosphere of one of those downstairs indie discos in Camden that spin “I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor” when the clock strikes midnight. But Brett Shaw, who recorded the track with Sands in his South London studio, is most well-known for recording a version of “Third Eye” with Florence Welch that was pure singing-on-the-organ church music and, accordingly, was rerecorded with some Grammy-winner for the album cut. It’s a shame. Shaw finds the wiry soul inside Andrew Sands’ heart that clicks in toward “Celebrate”‘s reverb draw. It’s a few seconds of pure tonal noise that sounds just like heaven.