“The Parallels Amongst Ourselves” – Sugar Army (Joint Review)

Wow, Perth is home to some amazing bands at the moment, and just when you thought the music scene over there was starting to plateau, here comes this amazing band called Sugar Army.

Think of a psychedelia infused Regular John, and that’s basically what you’re going to get. Sugar Army’s not a band where the musical boundaries are pushed, it’s a band that stays within the boundaries and just has fun, while making great music.

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Sugar Army - "The Parallels Amongst Ourselves"

Sugar Army - "The Parallels Amongst Ourselves"

‘The Parallels Amongst Ourselves’ is Sugar Army’s debut album and there’s a vibe to it that yells out “future stardom”, or something to that effect. They seem like a band that have captured their live sound and while I haven’t seen them live (a trip to ‘Northcote Social Club’ is on the cards though) the album sounds full and spacious, which suggests to me that they’ve really concentrated on replicating that “live sound”. Genre-wise they’re a fairly generic indie-rock band with a hint of psychedelia, which I must admit first attracted me to the band.

I can’t write this review without mentioning the song ‘Tongues In Cheeks’, it’s brilliant and as my counterpart said to me the other day, it’s their ‘Wolf Like Me’, it’s got an amazing amount of energy and seems like a crowd pleaser. To me a great song live has to have/be three things:

1. Recognisable right from the start. ✔
2. Catchy lyrics. ✔
3. Soul (i.e. energy/feeling). ✔

The one word that comes to mind after listening to this album is “epic”, there have been a few albums this year that have had the same effect (War Tapes, White Lies & The Fatales), but only White Lies has really utilised it, Sugar Army have as well, especially with the track ‘Building Castles’. It’ partly due to the production and the search for the replication of live sound, but it also has to be attributed to the bands song-writing as well.

The first time I listened to the album, I got kind of uninterested at about track 6 or 7, but unlike a lot of albums it got re-energised and by track 10, I was loving it again. This suggests two things; it’s probably not the best album it could have been quality-wise, but also, it suggests that the band have gotten all they could have out of the album. It plays amazingly well, but when you really analyse it, you realise that it has flaws and possibly even disappoints you. My opinion of albums like this is this; don’t think, just enjoy, as long as it doesn’t fade away and become boring after a few listens (which it hasn’t for me). If you take it as it comes, this album is seriously enjoyable and is possibly one of the most enjoyable Australian albums this year.

These guys are definitely going places and I would be surprised if they jump onto the mainstream landscape in a few years time. I whole-heartedly recommend this album to fans of rock and if you’re an Aussie then keep an eye out for them in the coming years.

Stand-out Tracks: ‘Tongues In Cheeks’, ‘Acute’, ‘Building Castles’

Rating: 8.5/10

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~ by Michael Hodder on August 2, 2009.

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