Sugar Spun – Hollywood & Vine

Sugar Spun
Hollywood & Vine

I really liked The Gin Blossom’s New Miserable Experience when it first came out. Maybe I shouldn’t admit that, but too late. It was a sound that was right for its time: good ol’ harmonizing pop-rock. The reason I bring it up is that the sound was right for its time, and time has moved on. Unfortunately, Sugar Spun are still listening to New Miserable Experience and loving it.

This is a case where bands shouldn’t send out photos. Two members of Sugar Spun look like they should be in the Backstreet Boys, and two look like young Jon Bob Jovi’s. The band listed their influences as being mainly classic rock, and it’s easy to see that they grew up listening to bands like CCR and the Beatles. But this style, which they call alt-folk/rock lends more to the Gin Blossoms and Counting Crows. And the band, unfortunately, doesn’t put their own spin on the sound, instead sounding like their recycling the sound.

“Home” is a good example. The vocals sound suitably Gin Blossoms or Better Than Ezra, the guitar playing away with that whole southern rock wail, the beat static and somewhat unoriginal. The song doesn’t even have enough hook to pull you in. “Hollywood & Vine” at least has some hooks, and the punchy guitar isn’t bad, but the backing vocals and rhythm don’t do much for this song. You’ve got a slower ballad with some decent bluesy guitar on “All Night Long.” “Ever Since You Left” is obviously the band’s first single, sounding like it could be on Dawson’s Creek or another WB show. For all that, it’s a pretty good song, with some great guitar, and the vocals work well here. But then “Peter” is almost definitely an actual Gin Blossoms song, and “Talk Show” is the same, although it also has a bit of a more modern mainstream rock sound. “Mary in the Morning” is a bit slower, with some wailing guitar, and it isn’t too bad, sounding more sincere, but “Have You Ever Been in Love” is downright sappy. “Please” tries too hard to rock, and it does get about half way there, which is more than can be said for “The Difference.”

It’s too bad Sugar Spun haven’t found their own sound. The guitar especially is pretty good here, even though it’s mixed behind the way-too-mainstream vocals. Like I said, I did like Gin Blossoms at one time. But that was then, and Sugar Spun aren’t now.