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Launched by singer/songwriter and guitarist Mark Miller in 2013, The Sandboys were just another engaging but anonymous Northern British band struggling to gain a toehold on the club scene in and around their native Newcastle.


Then for a whimsical Christmas present, his mum gave him the ukulele that changed his musical life. Combining its sonic cheerfulness with the broody and emotive cello of Ben Harrison – who saw the band playing one night, asked if he could sit in and quickly became a member – the revamped group has created a vibe so unique and infectious that it is a genre all its own. After several successful EP releases in the UK, The Sandboys bring their fresh “Cellele” style to the U.S. for the first time with the playfully titled Glitches, Imperfections & Glorious Quirks – a six song compilation that lays the foundation for their upcoming full length debut.

In Review:

The Sandboys have taken a traditionally English sound, referred to as “Cellele” and updated it, modernized it, but kept it quite Pure. admittedly, it is hard to describe, but imagine if one could take an urban / folk inspired rhythm, added a jazzy horn section and replaced guitar with a Ukulele, you get a upbeat and quirky sort of toe tapping love song melody machine. The Sandboys have this oh so interesting and naturally uplifting spirit to their music. it could be considered a retro-sound, but it does not follow a pattern that overly repeats, as said, updated, it moves and flows and follows a beat that just makes you want to smile and move. in many of the songs they kind of add a Hawaiian slide to the Uke and make it dance in tonal harmonies. these are some very talented gents and they share their zeal for living with their fans. The English “Keep calm and carry On” does not play here, rich with emotion, “Glitches, Imperfections & Glorious Quirks” is just that, a celebration of the little things that make us all unique and lovable.

Favorite Tracks for me on this album, “Wish For the Best”, “Count Me In”, “Path Of Least Resistance” and “More Than Enough”. the whole album just shines, but these 4 best represent the 4 major emotions we all feel on the average day, in our walk through the 24 hours, we get sent through the trails of JOB or hear the songs of the Sirens or, if were lucky, able to get a pint in our hands before the first frown of the day, and if you could have a fix for whatever ails you, “Glitches, Imperfections & Glorious Quirks” is that quaint English grandmother’s cure all.

Gearing up to perform in other European countries and eventually in the States, The Sandboys are also becoming more popular on the UK summer festival circuit. The core is always Miller and Harrison with various musicians getting the call for their live gigs and studio sessions.


“The irony of all this is that when my mum first gave the ukulele to me, I was snobbish about it, like I was this proper steel guitarist and why would I ever play it?” Miller says. “I had it in the corner of my room for a year, and then decided to pick it up one day. I started figuring out some chords and within a few weeks I had the progression for (the EP’s lighthearted, optimistic opening song) ‘Wish for the Best.’ Something about the ukulele just made me smile every time I picked it up and this seemed to translate to the songwriting. It added another aspect to the structure and so influenced the lyrics. That’s when the songs headed in a different direction, naturally. I’ve always been a big fan of the cello. They say that the cello range is very similar to that of the human voice and so that’s why we find it taps in to our emotions more than some other instruments.”


Following “Wish For the Best,” whose lyric about not settling for second best echoes the music’s cheery uplift, The Sandboys create a rockin’ UK equivalent version of high octane American bluegrass with “Drive You On,” which cleverly presents a philosophical crossroads: “Is it the path of least resistance or the highway of persistence?” He delves into a deeper exploration of that theme on the dreamy and haunting, slow simmering ballad “The Path of Least Resistance.” The lively pop/rocker “Like I Used To Be” is a tongue in cheek look at matchmaking for an ex-, while “More Than Enough” is pure, quirky and finger-snapping uke, cello and trumpet laced joy about love being more important than the material things in life.

“We gave Cellele music its own identity,” Miller says, “because we wanted to make a statement about the music – it was becoming more and more difficult to describe our music in terms of either fitting in to or even spanning genres. So now I don’t even attempt to shoehorn it into something when people contact us to book us – it sits well next to roots music but the name makes it easier for people to accept it for what it is.”

Since the creative shift, The Sandboys – appropriately named after the urban slang expression “happy as a sandboy” – have become a major sensation across the North East of the UK, building a loyal regional following supporting touring bands exclusively at the O2 Academy in Newcastle, including Alabama 3, Chas and Dave, The James Hunter 6, We Steal Flyers and The Amy Winehouse Experience aka Lioness. They are also regulars at the Surf Café in Tynemouth, The Bridge Hotel and The Cluny in their hometown.




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About Joseph Timmons (9897 Articles)
I am the Father of 5 and a "Would Be Philosopher of Idiocy" - Author and Writer for several Blogs and Online Magazine. Review Journalist, Musician and Audio Buff. Follow Me and I'm Sure to Entertain.

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