Sugar Daddie – Hell or High Water

Sugar Daddie
Hell or High Water

Sugar Daddie are one of the latest bands to join the hardcore ranks of Ohio’s Thorp Records alongside label mates Edgewise, The Boils, and The Young and The Useless. Their first full-length CD, Hell or High Water, is slated to be released at the end of January, and let me tell you, it’s a blistering album. Having seen these guys live a handful of times in the Philadelphia area – where they make their home – I’ve been anxiously waiting for 2003 to finally arrive. I figured if Sugar Daddie could transfer even half the energy of their live show onto a CD they’d have a winner, but they’ve packed it all into Hell or High Water.
While Sugar Daddie doesn’t fit quite neatly under the labels of punk or hardcore, it’s clear this is where they draw their inspiration. They add their own spice to the mix in the form of searing grooves and gruff vocals filled with all the strut and swagger of a drunken sailor. The music is dirty, sweaty, and greasy, but it has that certain lingering charm that keeps you coming back for more. From the opening notes of “Past Midnight,” Hell or High Water hits you full-throttle. This is always a live favorite of mine, and the band moves expertly from the opening’s rolling thunder into a deep sludgy furrow that is beautifully complemented by the gravelly vocals. “Past Midnight” is absolutely monstrous, and it undoubtedly sets the tone for the other nine tracks. These guys are great musicians and keep their sound fresh by infusing each song with something a little unexpected – whether it be the lyrics or a unique intro that shows of a different style.
Lyrically, Sugar Daddie injects a lot references to the requisites: alcohol, cars, women, and other sordid details of blue-collar existence. My favorite line is easily, “We represent the drunken slob kids, we welcome you to drunken land,” which was obviously lifted from the Wizard of Oz and changed to suit the style of the band. There are lots of plays on words here – from clichés to fairy tales – which you won’t often find among Sugar Daddie’s peers.
If you like music loud and rowdy, but done by people who can actually play, you’ll love Sugar Daddie. Grab a few friends, a few beers (or many if you like), a copy of Hell or High Water, and have some fun. You might have a headache in the morning, but it will be well worth it!