Beirut-based outfit Sandmoon — Sandra Arslanian (vocals, guitar), Sam Wehbi (guitar), George Flouty (bass) and Dan Shurki (drums) — have developed and honed a unique take on indie rock that draws from the Arslanian’s multicultural, international background: the Sandmoon frontperson is Armenian-Lebanese and was born in Beirut and spent her formative years in Belgium.
Throughout their growing catalog, which includes 2014’s full-length debut, Home, 2016’s #InTheEnd EP, 2018’s Put A Gun/Commotion EP and 2020’s Fadi Tabbal-produced sophomore album Put A Gun/Commotion, the members of the Beirut-based quartet have infused Western indie rock with subtle Middle Eastern intonations and melancholy and an unerring sense of melodicism.
Adding to a growing profile in their native Lebanon, the band wrote the soundtrack to Phillipe Aractingi’s 2016 film Listen, which received Best Soundtrack Award at 2017’s Lebanese Movie Awards.
Sandmoon’s Sandra Arslanian has also been very busy with a number of side projects including “Odyssée, Ode to the City” with poet Corinne Boulad, which has been selected in festivals in Beirut, Germany, Italy, Greece and California — and has won Best Spoken Word Poetry Award at the Monologues & Poetry International Film Festival.
Sandmoon’s highly-anticipated third album While We Watch the Horizon Sink is slated for release later this year. Earlier this year, I wrote about the album’s first single, the slow-burning “Wake Up.” Centered around painterly, shoegaze textures, Arslanian’s plaintive vocals, cinematic keys paired with a soaring hook, the song, which the band describes as sounding “like a crossover of Radiohead and Laura Marling with an imperceptible Middle Eastern flavor,” but to my ears recalls the likes of Cocteau Twins and Slowdive.
As the band explained, the song is “about looking beyond the surface, going to the essence of things.”
While We Watch the Horizon Sink‘s latest single “Where Do We Go from Here” continues a remarkable run of atmospheric material rooted in patient, painterly textures and dream-like melodies that sonically brings both Beach House-like dream pop and A Storm in Heaven-era shoegaze to mind. “‘Where Do We Go From Here,’ is a melodic indie pop song about seeking guidance from a trusted person. The person might have a mental condition (like Alzheimer), yet it is her guidance within, her guidance to our hearts, that is sought,” the members of Sandmoon explain.
Directed by Lujain Jo, the accompanying video is a hazy and nostalgic dream of a loved one, who has departed — or is extremely ill. Capturing that loved one in their fullness of their lives, and others in their youth, imbues the video with a heartbreaking sense of a loss, grief and love.