Sugar Army: The Parallels amongst Ourselves

RIYL: Interpol, Red Light Company, Neil Finn

“Detach,” the third track on Sugar Army’s debut, needs to be placed on everyone’s iPod immediately, and also included on every playlist therein (yes, even the one with Nat “King” Cole and Perry Como that you don’t tell anyone about). Sinister, urgent, and undeniably propulsive, it exemplifies the best aspects of the record, slicing out of the speakers like an ICBM just before it hits its target. You should also reserve disc space for “Acute,” “You Are a Possession, Up for Sale,” and “Tongues in Cheeks” – hell, just put the whole thing on there. This is a terrific modern rock album, a serious blast from start to finish.

With a voice like a younger, more forceful Neil Finn, singer Patrick McLaughlin steers the Australian band’s tight groove without ever reining it in. Even on slower songs like “No Need for Lovers” he expresses something ominous and powerful, leaning out of the group’s intense sonics and pulling the listener in. The rhythm section – bassist Ian Berney and drummer Jamie Sher – are particularly locked in and menacing, especially Berney, whose low-end riffs gurgle and hum like some outback monster.

The Parallels amongst Ourselves simply must find an audience in the US. Check it out for yourself and spread the word. (Shock 2010)

Sugar Army’s Myspace Page
Click to buy The Parallels amongst Ourselves from Amazon


Steve Kilbey: Painkiller

Aussie alternative rock band the Church began making music almost a quarter century ago, and while that band perfected the art of lo-fi before lo-fi was even a term anyone used, it was singer, songwriter and front man Steve Kilbey who mostly dominated the creative aspect of the Church. Kilbey’s first solo effort in eight years, Painkiller, was released in Australia in 2008 and just recently in the U.S. on Second Motion Records. But Church fans should be hesitant at best to grab this or any of Kilbey’s solo work – not because he isn’t talented or that his hypnotic vocals aren’t as spot on as they were in the ‘80s, but because it sounds like Kilbey puts his these songs together in a musical lab. There’s just a lot of weird experimentation going on, with melody and cohesion being after-thoughts. Kilbey’s poetry background is evident in some of these tracks, in particular the opener “Outbound,” which sounds like a spoken-word piece with musical backing. “Celestial” and “Crystalline Rush” are dark and somewhat palatable, as is the catchiest track, “Oenone.” But when Kilbey breaks out the test tubes and beakers, as he does on the 12-minute instrumental track, “File Under Travel,” or on the (gasp) 31-minute long “Not What You Say,” you just might fall asleep before you realize what’s happening. (Second Motion)

Steve Kilbey MySpace Page


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