Sugar Army : Summertime Heavy
Summertime Heavy marks the return of brooding, simmering fuzz heroes Sugar Army. Summertime Heavy being just about the only two words that could so seamlessly describe this enigmatic batch of tunes. The West Oz outfit pricked ears nationwide off the back of their first release The Parallels Amongst Ourselves; Singles were heavily rotated, shows were sold out and festival main stages graced. As the lads were demoing tunes for album number two their bass player received a call from Birds Of Tokyo. “Hey man, wanna play bass in an ARIA winning, platinum selling, established rock'n'roll band? Probably some overseas travel in the future and festival headlines. Or do you wanna keep pushing the band you're in that could go either way?” So exit bass player and enter first album two hurdle. Rather than recruit a session musician, the three remaining members took care of the bass themselves. So while slightly rudimentary in places, it means there is a bit more space for the tortured guitars, the building drums and most importantly Patrick McLaughlin’s awesome vocals.
Future Spark is a great start to the album introduced with a riff that could only be Sugar Army. It’s all angles, angst and just enough pop to keep their listenership nice and broad. Their songs have a tendency to start building the second they begin. Will You Follow is testament to this – it’s stressful and perfectly cluttered. Hooks For Hands is the stand-out track and the obvious choice for first single. In Comes Light is my pick for its follow up. “We spent so long running away from danger” begins a frenetic and bitter-sweet pop song that is undeniably catchy and crafted in a similar vein to No Need For Lovers, arguably the stand out track from their debut. It’s a strong follow-up from Sugar Army, however whether it will have the impact of their first remains to be seen. The first just had so many interesting pop beasts, whereas this album seems more a reaffirmation of the band rather than an album that eclipses or progresses from the first, which isn’t a bad thing at all. It's bold, fun and a little creepy and once again McLaughlin’s lyrics and ability to craft a story can take you by surprise. Rock'n'roll for the pondering man.
BY JACK PARSONS
Best Track: Hooks For Hands
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