- by Mark Steele Rating:7 Release Date:2016-04-21 Label:
Since their 2013 debut album Graceless, Sulk have supported The Happy Mondays on their 25th anniversary tour. They have also been writing their material for the new album we are looking at here, expressing themselves in their retro British psych/shoegaze style.
They continue with the same line-up of Jon Sutcliffe - vocals; Tomas Kubowisc - lead guitar; Andrew Needle - lead guitar; Jakub Starzynski - bass, and Lewis Jones - drums, and have gathered together more songs and sounds to share.
No Illusions opens with 'Black Infinity (Upside Down)' starting with a delayed slightly overdiven guitar arpeggo pattern, similar to Coldplay. It has a reverb soundchamber feel on the background guitars,vocal, bass and drums creeping along for the verse and then brings in some Piano.
A more uptempo number on 'The Only Faith is Love' has a Dandy Warhol's type instrumentation underpinnIng Blur-esque melodic vocal hooks.
These catchy songs are bound to conjure many soundalikes, such as on the title-track 'No Illusions', we can hear a close relation The Stone Roses track 'Waterfall' with it's jangly loud- to-quite changes in the guitar, of course, it is made more current due to Jon's fresh vocals.
There are some well sculpted guitar lines on this album, a definite highlight being the chorus on 'Drifting'. Pleasant enough is the Neo-Psychedelic Pop angle on 'One Day', which has some aspects of Arthur Lee's Love, with it's many colours within the wistful and catchy and melody parts. The abstract metallic string grinding haunts you on 'Past Paradise' does not last for long - Less than a minute - then leads a stop and start guitar and bass hop, then moves into a fuzzy Britpop moments that has the laddish swagger of Oasis on 'Queen Supreme' and the bright optimism of Cast on 'Love Can't Save You Now'.
There are some melancholic and dreamy layers on 'Tape of you', though in an upbeat fashion, carried along by the simple but effective drums and bass, this seems to move the things up a gear, and the last track in The Charlatan's vibe is 'Another Man Fades Dawn', which rolls out a funky groove with droney layers over the top to complete the album.
The combination of Psychedelic-Shoegaze, Baggy, Britpop all together on No Illusions, has a homegrown freshness. Sulk may generate huge interest in their sound, on this recording alongside debut Graceless. Though the question is, how long will it last?