Sandpaper Dolls, "Sandpaper Dolls"
To describe the Sandpaper Dolls as an a cappella group is about as accurate as saying that Nina Simone was a pianist. It’s true, but it is not the whole truth.
The Dolls are more than the remarkable sound of three women conjuring music with their voices alone. They lure their listeners into well appointed rooms of familiar comforts but before we have time to lean back on customary expectations of a cappella music, their music politely informs us that our expectations will be of little use. The curtains drawn aside, we’re offered a view of territory where the unaccompanied voice may still claim new ground.
They explore song with a steadiness and confidence that cannot be achieved by mere familiarity or studious listening alone. They understand music and the power inherent in the human voice. Their songs are an elaboration of that understanding.
Contemplative tone studies broker glorious agreements with Gospel and Vocal Jazz. The unsettling tones of the Baroque shadow-shift amid the triumphant plaintiveness of the field holler. Afro-beat lies down with Avant-garde on a bed of peat moss. The lyrical content nods once at the playful and common, then at the distinctly darker elements of loss and uncertainty.
Melody revels in her devotion to her sisters Story, Rhythm, Breath and Wonder. In listening to the music of the Sandpaper Dolls we’re reminded that the human voice is the original instrument and we are delighted to discover that it yields new pleasures still. Hallelujah.
They seem to have a collective mindset, one that balances being open to new opportunities and bringing The Sandpaper Dolls to new places and a broader audience, while staying grounded and in the moment.
“We’re in a place in our lives when it’s more important to stay in the moment and work on the next project and have fun and enjoy it and enjoy it for what it is.”
The Sandpaper Dolls debuted in Louisville in 2008, and have since floored jaws with their innovations in a cappella music. Comprised of Suki Anderson, Amber Estes and Rebecca Dennison, the trio’s influences accumulate and drive through the sounds of country, folk, blues, gospel, jazz, orchestral, the conjuring of various directions in world musics, and a just plain hook into something that sounds ethereal and cosmic at times. This is a cappella music that can become a somber twist on using voices to create anything imaginable sans instrumentation. —Insider Louisville
The Sandpaper Dolls have found their niche in haunting harmonies. That doesn’t mean they’re leaving behind the fundamentals they learned in previous bands. Each song, although a cappella, has percussive elements, a bassline and a melody. That percussion is reflected in various shapes and forms on their self-titled studio album. “Colors” uses breathing techniques to establish a subtle beat, and tongue clicks pepper “Cast Your Love” with a certain jazz. “Tesla Bossa” showcases some of the innovative ways they’ve been able to transform their voices into multi-dimensional instruments. Between chorus and verse, what sounds like a rousing horn solo overtakes the shuffle. The warmth and clarity of the recording is enough to make you feel like you’re standing a foot away from Anderson, Estes and Dennison. The occasional echo gives the three-part harmonies an otherworldly, timeless quality. —LEO Weekly
(The Sandpaper Dolls) weave impeccable vocal lines, looped for added depth and layering. The result is an arrangement similar to fellow female trio Mountain Man with the poly-rhythmic styling of tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus. —Thought On Tracks
The best opening act ever! —The California Guitar Trio