Sugar Army – The Parallels Amongst Ourselves

Sugar Army - The Parallels Amongst Ourselves

It must be hard to exist as an interesting, creative entity in a genre that demands so much reverence of antecedents when there’s only so many things you can do with a standard guitar and rhythm set up. So it’s altogether quite remarkable that Australian quartet Sugar Army have managed to create undeniably interesting music that pays the required lip service without ever really sounding derivative. No small feat that.

Sugar Army borrow neatly from dreamy post-rock sounds and mix this with some crunching driving rock to create some fantastic music. However, the most pleasantly remarkable aspect of The Parallels Amongst Ourselves is the sheer strength of the songwriting. There’s so many great moments here and the band seem to have mastered another regrettably rare feat – creating an album of variety that is cohesive without sounding disjointed.

They take some cues from another Australian rock band, the grunge-lite of Silverchair is sometimes evoked in the heaviest moments. But the clearest likeness seems to be with British band Kasabian, with Sugar Army’s stadium rock aspirations closely matching their anthemic songwriting though choosing to focus on weightier subject matter. What sets Sugar Army apart is that they’ve got some soul, like another antipodean group, yes, yes! Crowded House! Seriously, that’s the most apt comparison for the harmonies here and it sounds just great. “Tongues In Cheeks” starts with a tale about a man whose daily diet consisted of ‘six cups of tea and a pack a day’, which is hardly going to have people swooning at such courageous social rebellion but its easy to forget all about that by the time the chorus hits. “Acute” has a searing heavy riff that gets as funky as regulations permit.

However, it is not all of such a high standard, the band are not so proficient at slower songs and “Many A Mask” and “Building Castles” have a tendency to appear almost like dirges, as if they were wading through a swamp when they recorded it. That’s just a minor and passing blip though, they usually tend to stick to the emotionally-wrought fast and furious rock they do so well on this album. There’s a lot of highlights on this album and it shows a certain level of promise but it seems likely that there is more, and better, to come from this lot.