by Kyle Ulman and Ryan Duncan
In May of 2010, local Hermosa Beach band Sand Section, released their first major album Truth Over Harmony. Sand Section’s sound is a mixture of South Bay punk and reggae. Their style could be compared to the legendary Long Beach band Sublime, though listeners have had difficulty classifying them in a specific genre.
The band consists of lead guitarist and vocalist Jeff Nisen, bass guitarist and vocalist Tony Gonella and percussionist Sam Mandelbaum. The band members initially began playing together in middle school, yet Sand Section was not officially formed until 2008.
Once formed, the band spent a lot of time commuting between shows at UC Santa Barbara and UC Santa Cruz, the alma maters of both Nisen and Gonella. After graduating in 2009, the band decided to focus their careers towards music.
Recently, Sand Section has been on tour, throughout Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and other Los Angeles areas.
The album Truth Over Harmony includes twelve tracks, with the song “Doubled Over” being the most popular. The album is a warm, summery reflection of the easy-going lifestyles in the South Bay. What makes Sand Section different from the other similar bands are their upbeat rhythms and melodious vocals.
Sand Section is further separated from previous rock-reggae bands by abstaining from the playing the overused guitar upstroke. Sand Section transforms the stereotypical “Surfer Band” into an original art form.
Their most well known song to date, “Doubled Over,” is an excellent example of Sand Section’s lyrical storytelling ability coupled with Nisen’s harmonious vocals. The song begins with the characteristics of a soft acoustic introduction, yet the melody quickly builds intensity and momentum as the song progresses. The intensity reaches its highest during the chorus, producing a toe-tapping rhythmic motif. Even more impressive is the breakdown after the chorus, showing the band’s versatility and adeptness at using contrasting tempos within a single song.
The second most well-known song, “Undertow,” is a song about a long-distance relationship and the love for a girl. Unlike the slow buildup of “Doubled Over,” Undertow begins the song immediately in an upbeat fashion. This clever use of an early peak in rhythm instantly hooks you into the song and utterly embodies the excitement of love. The allegro pace continues until the chorus in which the tempo slows. The chorus allows Nisen to truly demonstrate his versatile vocal ability. “Undertow” finishes with a striking combination of the fast-paced introduction motifs and the melodic vocals of the chorus.
Through an online survey, it was indicated that only 30% of Chadwick students have even heard of the band. With the release of Truth Over Harmony, the band will hopefully gain more widespread fame, a significantly larger fan base and the popularity that it definitely deserves. Sand Section is the ultimate example of a diamond in the rough.