Thursday, November 8, 2012

#110 - Sugar & the Hi-Lows - Sugar & the Hi Lows (2012)

I chose this album because I'll be seeing them in concert here soon opening for Ingrid Michaelson. EDIT: They were awfully, awfully good. In some ways I enjoyed them more than Ingrid. Sugar & the Hi-Lows consist of Trent Daabs and Amy Stroup.

Two Day High
It's a blues number and I really like the band's sound. It's very full - the bass is very full and the drums are hidden yet in front. Daabs' lead vocals are very unique and very cool and when Stroup sings harmonies with him, it's absolutely magical. The guitars are reminiscent of Brian Setzer with a little less edge and a little more simplicity.

I've Got You Covered
It's an old school 50's ballad with a more modern sound. The band's sound is very much cemented with is both it's biggest strength and weakness. While they have mastered their sound and clearly defined who they are the recordings lack any kind of variation which would allow the listener to appreciate their signature sound even more once it was reintroduced. The tracks don't necessarily run together but they also don't separate themselves. That being said, they do what they do quite well. This track does a wonderful job of creating an atmosphere in which nothing actually happens, but it remains very full and bright - its powered by emotion rather than music.

See it For Yourself
This is the biggest and best track on the album and it's really the only one that stands out. Stroup takes over lead vocal duties and the song is much more rock based. The majority of the album has both vocalists singing with Stroup singing backup and while it has a beautiful blend to it, it's also incredibly overused. I very much enjoy it but the album desperately needs more tracks like this to break up their otherwise formulaic style of writing. This tracks is absolutely worth checking out.

All in all, it's a very good album - I enjoyed it. Technically speaking the album didn't spike out enough for me. Dynamically it stays at the same spot for it's duration. The snare drums never leap out at you, there's never any accented notes, and there's nothing to cause any disturbance in the machine. I don't think it's necessarily a problem with the band themselves as much as the recording and the production. I like the music, I like the sound, I like the band, and I think they could definitely make some noise. If this album was remixed it could be something special. I really look forward to their next album.

Tomorrow's album: Bert Jansch' Bert Jansch.

No comments:

Post a Comment