CD REVIEW: Transient Songs "Stealing Sand"

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Transient Songs is an accurate name for a band built around a singer-songwriter with many moves like Jon Frum. Born in West Virginia, raised in Texas and a hard-traveler in geography and tough emotional lessons, he has been experiencing life from the heartland to the margins — and bringing his darkly-sparkling, artfully crafted tunes back up to his home in the Pacific NW. 

Their new album Stealing Sand is a masterpiece of restlessness and the thirst for redemption, shrewdly played with collaborator Michael Shunk (guitars), Dayna Loeffler (bass), and new drummer Craig Keller. Previous album Foreign Rooms was critically celebrated, and its follow up should find even more acclaim. Starting off as intimate home demos, the other musicians joined him in expanding its textures, and what we have is a perfect summer night’s album, full of grit and decline, exhaustion from the heat before.

Frum explains that the album title Stealing Sand describes, “how whatever we are doing that we think is important in this life probably doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of the universe. I mean, who cares if we are stealing sand from empty beaches at night?” He also admits it could be a metaphor about being stuck in a band, making music for a living against all the odds. 

Two of the best tracks on the album, ’A Reflection' and  'Lost in the Middle' show the broad emotional palette the full-length offers. The former is a catchy pop tune, subversively simple, while the latter ferociously explores deeper topics with a huge, sweeping vibe. The various layers of Stealing Sand should allure many to its nocturnal charms, the substance of the work bringing them back again and again for many plays. 

Lou Flesh

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