Empty Cellar Records presents the Sophomore full-length platter by The Sandwitches, Mrs. Jones' Cookies. San Francisco's Sandwitches have been plugging away at their craft for a couple magical years now, sprinkling their barbed, alluring electric folk briars across unsuspecting gardens in the Bay Area and beyond. Previous releases, such as the swampy ecstasy of How To Make Ambient Sadcake and last year's oceanic ouija board of an EP, Duck Duck Goose!, captured distinct sides of the trio. Mrs. Jones Cookies is here now to unify their uniquely whimsical and creepy vision.
Mrs. Jones' Cookies pours Sadcake's plaintive bounce into Duck Duck’s celestial, mysterious drift, spiking the mix with a side they've previously only hinted at: a playfulness, a comfort. It's the sound of a band at ease with unease. Even when they're plumbing the most desperate depths, there's an unforced confidence in the lonely plucking of guitarists Heidi Alexander and Grace Cooper.
The shared vocal duties are where these ladies truly and finally let loose. On 'Lightfoot' and single 'Summer Of Love,' drummer Roxy Brodeur punches out lively, soul-flecked trots, as Grace and Heidi tickle the end of their high and low ranges, returning later to those highs and lows with extra force and bluster, shooting out the lights with aplomb. The Sandwitches live for moments like this, teasing the listener with deceptively simple backing, then letting fly with soaring vocal saltwater taffy that can be scary, cartoonish, or both. Then, of course, the girls backtrack on a dime and plant a mournful lullaby in your lap, as affecting and otherworldly as you'll ever hear and complete with a wandering flute.
Ultimately the confidence with which they mingle with these vague ideas of beauty, sorrow, humor, and freakishness adds up to what this band and this record have in spades: mystique. You may not have any idea as it's happening, but the Sandwitches are playing with you, not for you.