Sometimes, it can take a while for a Grade-A track to find its forever home.

Take “Sandinista Smile,” by Animal Scream: “The song was written and recorded by the group as far back as 2020,” says lead singer/producer Chad Monticue. “But because of the ominous vibe of [2020 album] Nightwalk & [2023’s] Heartbroke Motel, it just didn’t fit.”

Punctuated by hand drums, soaring strings and a driving disco beat, “Sandinista Smile” offers pure summertime refreshment. “Last dance until the daylight shines into our eyes,” Monticue croons on the refrain. It's the flipside to the “evil Motown” vibes that saturate the Pittsburgh-based band’s first two albums.

While the song is inspired by Monticue’s first date with his now-wife, it begins with a verse penned and delivered by the sensual, surrealist songwriter, Ames Harding.

“I thought ‘Sandinista’ would be a perfect collab with Ames and the Mirage," Monticue said. “The whole band came in a couple months back and we worked together to finish it. It was probably some of the most fun we’ve ever had in the studio.”

Animal Scream is working on a new, 6-song EP scheduled for release in late fall. This standalone single, however, won’t be included. In the meantime, it turns out a little sunshine can be good for the soul, even if it's just to balance out the darkness of the night.

Animal Scream perform this Friday at 8pm for a 21+ performance during Northside Music Festival at Allegheny Elks Lodge #339, 400 Cedar Ave. 

Ames Harding & the Mirage perform at the James Simon Gallery in Uptown August 14. 

Track Info:

Vocals: Chad Monticue, Ames Harding

Bass: Chad Monticue, Mike Saunders

Synths: Chad Monticue

Drums: Josh Sickels, Eli Weidman

Guitar: Chad Monticue, Ames Harding, Lukas Truckenbrod

Percussion: AJ Arnett

Produced: Animal Scream

Recorded: Chad Monticue, Jake Hanner

Mixed: Jake Hanner, Animal Scream

Mastering: Pete Lyman @Infrasonic Sound

Cover Art: Misanthropulsar, Chad Monticue