[sic] Magazine

The Sandwitches – Mrs Jones’ Cookies

They say that we eat with our eyes as much as we do our mouths, and while that might seemingly have little to do with music, consider that an aesthetic semblance inevitably becomes a part of most art forms during the process of relating to one of them.

In music, we often hear – or maybe just sense – things that are brought to our mind’s eye, ultimately at some point creating a visual interpretation of sound. In that sense, it would not be too strange to say that Mrs Jones’ Cookies is a feast for the eyes in as much as it is a treat for the ears.

Sweet and melodious alt-country pop tunes are the order of the day, but spend a little time sampling them and you’ll start to get the sense that there’s much more than first meets the eye.

Take the second track, ‘Summer Of Love’, for example. Feel-good and jangly, it inspires the urge to sing along, yet it almost goes unnoticed at first that the vocals and lyrics are less a directorial feature and more instruments of melody.

While that’s not to say the lyrics are indiscernibly blended into the music, they’re a much more subtle element that strangely evoke an intuitive involvement and reaction before you get the full story. There are moments when the harmonious voices play together almost like a multi-stringed instrument, or, as is the case with stand-out track ‘Heaviest Head In The West’, the solo vocal almost sounds like a ghostly brass instrument that’s adrift somewhere playing soulful blues, while the rest of the instruments rollick along as though they’re on a ghost train heading out to meet the lost.

Rather than this giving the listener a feeling of estrangement, by working in slightly strange ways themselves, at first listen The Sandwitches inspire curiosity more than anything else – the kind where you’re given a little glimpse of something beyond that which you already know and can’t help but be tantalised to know more.

It’s all rather like the softly glowing entrance to a fortune-teller’s tent at a sideshow, where if you take a sideways peek at the inside, a gypsy is winking back at you knowingly. Once you go inside, you can never be quite sure if her words are simply relating to the visions conjured in the crystal ball, or if they’re manifestations of what you interpret in the sound of her voice.

My first instinct whenever I listen to an album is to get to the ‘heart of the matter’. Music with lyrics and vocals tend to make this easy, as it requires a little less participation and interpretation from me if everything is laid out in plain English. Just when I got nice and comfy in this assertion, Mrs Jones Cookies comes along to subvert all my ideas about how to listen to an album. Deceptively simple on the surface, wily and tempting with its charms, and assuredly addictive once you realise there aren’t any nuts to crack to get at the inside, just the slight shift of a curtain.

~Mrs Jones Cookies is out March 29th 2011 on Empty Cellar .~