Gary DRANOW is not an artist to shy away from tough subjects in his music. This rings true in his latest release, Sandy Beaches. The track covers the complex relationship a troubled veteran has with the war he fought in, as well as the civilian life he returned to.
DRANOW addresses the topic through his classic rock lens. The two main guitar parts interact with each other as the track goes on. One has depth, power, and crunchy grit which adds edge to the timbre of the composition. The other has a higher register and articulately follows the melody, built by the vocals. These two guitar parts interact with each other beautifully. The deeper guitar part rounds out the sonic tapestry, giving the track depth and diversity. The higher register guitar part is aided by that contrast and has a subtlety and emotional resonance that is unique. These two melodic components engage with each other beautifully, each allowing the other a moment to take centre stage. That cohesion between the guitar parts is impressive and lends the track a richness that aids the storytelling. The guitar solo at the end is an excellent example of the diversity of the composition, allowing for individual instruments to shine.
The narrative feels like a train of thought directly from a veteran's mind. The ideas feel cluttered, and disturbed by the trauma of war. There are moments where the veteran is in the present, watching the waves, and others where he is somewhere else, lamenting on his life and the violence he has endured. There is a sense that violence has left him so disturbed, he struggles to connect with others. It feels as if his experiences have split him from regular society.
DRANOW gives us a rare insight into the effect war has on the strongest people in our society through this beautiful rock ballad about trauma. This track reminds us of the physical and mental sacrifices that people make during and after going through war.