Sugarmen - Local Freaks

by Jim Harris Rating:7 Release Date:2017-10-13
Sugarmen - Local Freaks
Sugarmen - Local Freaks

Heaven forbid if every so often a Britpop band doesn’t float up and threaten to sail the global seas on a world tour in search of well, what Britpop bands always seem to be in search of: Girls.  Nothing wrong with that, mind you, if you are a nerdy young man with a few chords and an amplifier, throw in some skinny jeans, a cigarette, and a mop top, and off you go.

There was a bit of resurgence in the middle 00’s with the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and the band my nine year-old daughter took a liking to and have seen six excruciating times over the years, The Kooks. The only one that I stayed partial to was the quirky Art Brut, with their caustic, funny lyrics, and dry deliberate delivery. Frank Black produced a couple of their albums and they were enjoyable.

The Sugarmen came along and hit the scene a few years back, catching the attention of some dude named Mick Jones from the Clash, who then produced them, and off they went to record in Paul Weller’s recording studio. Frankly, that’s a lot to live up to, and yet they signed with Sire Records and toured the world. And they are from Liverpool! For Christ’s Sake!

It all adds up to a solid Britpop album called Local Freaks that jangles and rocks along with just the right amount of poppy post-punk derivatives that should not disappoint any followers of the Hooton Tennis Club, early Arctic Monkeys, or any other of these types of bands.  

Unfortunately, the opening add-on track, 'AC' teases you with a midtempo, attitude-drenched tune that lulls you into thinking they are leaning into that sort of post-punk, Lou Reed influenced, New York scene they claim has influenced them. But, the remaining album is more Kaiser Chiefs than Lou Reed.  Tracks like ‘Push-Button Age’ and ‘Save the Feeling’ do the appropriate justice to the Britpop tradition. If anything however, the songs in their totality may lack that extra punch many of these bands have that pushes them above the rest. Sugarmen may have that little extra as they mature as a band, but this first effort, though fairly solid, still seems a bit below the pedigree of a distinctive Liverpool band.

With the attention they’ve got and the opportunities presented to them, we’ll just wait and see what they come up with next.

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