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CD REVIEW: Two Cent Sam - Songs from the Sandbox

By: Cyrus Rhodes





Artist: Two Cent Sam

Album: Songs From the Sandbox

Label: Popcore Entertainment

Genre: Alternative Rock, Punk,    

Sounds Like: Brandon Flowers, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers

Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 8/10
Best Song: Be There, Cutting Down the Christmas Tree, This is the Way

Weakness:  More Solos Please



Two Cent Sam is 5 piece Rock band from Long Island, NY who just released their full length CD entitled Songs from the Sandbox in 2011. Band members include Mike Logiudice (Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Bass), Jeff Burke (Guitar), Matt Shaw (Bass), Pete Bienkowski (Drums), Dan Hodgkinson (Keys, Vocals). Reading from their bio: they have a raw sound that favors a 60's pop meets new age alt-rock feel and have been compared to a variety of bands from NY's post punk revival and the days of the British invasion.

The CD kicks things off with “War Cry” a rocking intro piece that serves up driving rock rhythm, against infectious groove and heartfelt vocals from Logiudice. Track 2 “Be There” an impressive follow-up piece delivers a more in your face rock grove with its mesmerizing melody and thought provoking lyrical content that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. Track 3 “This is the Way” shifts gears a bit with its melodic guitar intro, impressive vocal harmonies against a grand slam chorus. As the CD quickly unfolds I can hear influences ranging from Brandon Flowers, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers and even Counting Crows. The music has everything you would expect from a high-energy Alternative Rock release. Besides the standard 4 piece delivery you will also notice impressive vocal harmonies, harmonica, keyboards, melodic guitar all build upon a thick as a solid rhythmic foundation. The musical style refuses to be pinned down and offers a wide range of musical depth with elements of Alternative Rock, Pop, and even a splash of Classic Punk. Logiudice’s vocal style works extremely well with this confines of this 13 song catalogue. He takes many vocal risks throughout indicating to me a strong and confident vocal ability. The rhythm section - lays down the low end groove thick as a brick, and the vocal harmonies are to die for. What I like most about the music is the very consistent songwriting. Like a heavy weight boxer the strong song line-up keeps coming at you one after the other - with no sign of letting up. From rocking “My Generation” and “Killers Now” to mesmerizing “Scared” to dynamic “Cowboy Rock N’ Roll Awesome Song” to heartfelt “ Never to Soon” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 13 “20 to 12” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.  

I normally dedicate this paragraph to any weaknesses found. As you can see I have nothing major to report. I will however say I do wish I heard  more ripping solos throughout (Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboards).

This latest CD teaser from “Two Cent Sam” is a solid and consistent musical statement from start to finish. Its strength – the consistent song for song line-up that keeps coming at you. I will go on record to say there’s not a weak piece on this entire catalogue, and with 13 songs, Songs from the Sandbox  comes fully loaded. No doubt these guys are a total riot to check out live in the back clubs of Long Island.

Cyrus Rhodes

Read the Elusive Interview