According to this site, Sasha Zand is a native Long Islander back in Glen Cove after stints in California and London (where he was in a band called Feather). The three tracks available online are unified by a jangling, strumming mid-tempo guitar style that forms the meat of his sound.
This inverse ex-patriot has definitely brought back some of the Brit’s crisp approach to pop in addition to a laid back West Coast breeziness. The Long Island influence? I presume it’s the angst.
On his favorites list, Zand names The Smiths and R.E.M, whose influence can be heard on the subtle melodic lines crawling across the song “Wrong.” This is a moody bit of guitar pop with a nice, plaintive Bob Mould quality that is hampered only by a pretty unimaginative beat. The highlight is a sparkling guitar break that adds a nice layer of melody to the track’s constant strums.
“Talk About It” changes gears ever so slightly, bringing a sort of shoegaze Beatles feel to the proceedings. Zand’s deadpan declarations even have, dare I say, a Ringo-esque quality, leaving “Talk About It” feeling like a post-Nirvana “Octopus’s Garden.” There is a dreamy wall of chorus-drenched guitars on this track, but the overall sound quality suffers in comparison to “Wrong.” Still, I would take it over the most recent Oasis.
Zand says the track “Diamond in the Rough” is about homeless teenagers he encountered in San Francisco. His cautionary tale is put to a mod-ish, early Who-type arrangement that is a nice break from the straight-ahead rhythms of the previous two.
The strength of these songs, their consistent strong guitar work and disciplined pop craftiness also leaves me somewhat wanting for an unexpected vocal harmony or flourish of synth. Still, Zand has a classicist’s approach to guitar pop that is refreshing after an afternoon car ride full of embarrassing rap/metal fusion acts. All he needs to do is stick around on the Island, go a little out of his mind like the rest of us and add that touch of madness to what he already has.