, September 7th, 2010 07:37
Anyone still holding on to their plaid flannel shirt that's been languishing somewhere in the back of their wardrobe in the hope that they will once again be at the height of sartorial tastes will find much comfort in this, the second long playing release from Dead Confederate. The rest of you will find an album that, while clearly viewing Nirvana's In Utero as some kind of musical Year Zero, is as in thrall to the sonic dynamics of My Bloody Valentine and a fondness for the frantic fret worrying redolent of Dinosaur Jr.
Dead Confederate have made a significant shift from their hit-and-miss 2008 debut, Wrecking Ball. Eschewing its predecessor's predilection for six-string tar-thick sludge, extended cosmic wigouts and balancing the tightrope between grunge and psychedelia, Sugar is a more streamlined affair that's on intimate terms with the concept of a melody while gleefully stamping on a myriad of effects pedals.
And while the whole affair hardly makes any weighty claims to originality, the album is nonetheless played with a sincerity that ensures that it endears itself in a way that Nine Black Alps and The Subways didn't. With tracks rarely straying over the four-minute mark, Dead Confederate display a discipline born of a desire to impress on first impression rather than drawing the listener in for a couple of nicely rolled fatties before letting you know them on a first name basis.
So it is that the near nauseous guitars of opener 'In The Dark' lurch from the grooves after one too many hits from the bong but the effect is immediate and instant. The song's debt to Kevin Shields is obvious but there's enough of Dead Confederate's own personality at play here to suggest that the band are eager to build on their influences rather than just aping them and even if J Mascis does lend his idiosyncratic guitar playing to 'Giving It All Away', he never threatens to overshadow his hosts. Elsewhere, as evidenced by 'Run From The Gun', Dead Confederate prove that they're equally at home with the pedals left in the box as they are creating a maelstrom.
Crucially, there's much to suggest that Dead Confederate are well on their way to finding a voice that will be uniquely their own; an event, one suspects, that will be well worth listening to.