The Parallels Amongst Ourselves
12 Track, LP (2009, Shock)
Related: Sugar Army.
Often as a reviewer, as fruitless and redundant a task it is, you’ll try to come up with an all-encompassing genre class in which to stuff whichever band you’re analysing. That’s how the music critic fraternity has come up with such meaningless genres as “toytronica” and “hypnagogic pop”, because we’ve been devoid of apt descriptors. (Plus everyone loves a ridiculous genre, particularly Simon Reynolds.) The debut long player from Perth quartet Sugar Army, The Parallels Amongst Ourselves, offers the same challenges. Where do you place an act on the musical spectrum that’s toured with both Little Birdy and Karnivool?
In the end, however, it’s this amalgamation of influences – post-punk, stoner, alterna-rock – that gives *The Parallels Amongst Ourselves its distinctive edge. It’s a record for those who want something edgy and combustible, but can’t stomach the limpid bombast of The Butterfly Effect or Cog’s prog metal. Sugar Army balance the four-to-the-floor drive of Queens of the Stone Age and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with the anthemic austerity of Interpol and The Walkmen. ‘Tongues In Cheeks’ and ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf Was Just Paranoid’ rock as hard as any other Australian single this year, but they never capitulate to heavy metal cliche. Similarly, Sugar Army can deliver moody, pensive numbers like the haunting ‘No Need For Lovers’, written about the “Wheelie Bin Murders” of late 2006. Demonstrating his usual flair for prose, vocalist Pat McLaughlin succinctly encapsulates the murderers’ mind set when he sings, “If they have no need for lovers/Then what’s stopping them?”
The Parallels Amongst Ourselves isn’t without its weaker moments, where songs like ‘Detach’ and ‘That’s A Damn Fine Cliché’ feel directionless and don’t take proper advantage of some promising moments. But Sugar Army are playing pied piper to fellow Perthicans such as Harlequin League, Trigger Jackets, Kill Teen Angst and Young Revelry: bands that aren’t afraid to crank up the amps in a city traditionally known as the epicentre of Australian indie-pop. They’re trading in 16 Lovers Lane for Siamese Dream in the sleepy little deathtoll town.
by Dom Alessio