Song of the Day

Sand and Salt, “Embrace Life” (2021)

Deadlocked in the middle of a Mid-Atlantic has me fantasizing about kite-surfing off the gorgeous coasts of Southern Spain. I’ll need be content instead with a sonic tour courtesy of Tarifa’s Sand and Salt. The aptly dubbed Andalusian beach bruisers trade in a sort of PMA that absolutely radiates with a PMA-heavy edge.

Melding melodic '90s hardcore, Youth Crew revival, and a score of other hardcore touchstones, this scratches a similar spot to Be Well. Considering the aforementioned Equal Vision titans are responsible for my favorite record of 2020, I’m stoked to get the itch.

Shit, singer Fede de la Calle even belts it out with an impassioned wail similar to our esteemed knob twiddler at Salad Days. Last year saw the band double dipping, dropping two superlative EPs on 4/20, a date all the more poignant given their ardently straight edge roots. 

Sand and Salt’s entree into 2021 has been no less busy, again releasing both an EP and single in the nascent days of what I’ve taken to calling “the year of crossed fingers.”

Song of the Day “Embrace Life” is both the opener and title track of the former and it’s a fucking keeper. Though the entire runtime is shoehorned with essential moments, the band’s aural arsenal is best employed here.

At once breathless and relentless, the band plays with energy and pace expertly. It doesn’t take but 20 seconds before we’re knee deep in an absolutely massive gang vocal. Simple yet effective, the image conjured is of sweaty band members crowded around the mic. It immediately lends the song a triumphant and resilient edge. 

At just two and a half minutes, there’s not a lot of time to stretch things out, but the band manages to find an epic rise and fall similar to the genre’s best practitioners. There are bits that call to mind One Step Closer, Down to Nothing, Gorilla Biscuits, and Comeback Kid.

Taking their cues more from the hyper melodic end of hardcore, I even hear less obvious influences like Allegiance or Go It Alone. Jamming a two-step part at the dead middle is the perfect transition and the bass steps up to drive the whole thing home.

There’s some guitar flash buried deeply in the mix, pointing at a band that knows their way around their instruments. Lyrically, they stay within their relatively standard lane but, when executed this well, it hits harder than most.


Tagged: sand and salt