Sugarmen- ‘Local Freaks’: A Review
I’ve had the pleasure of having the debut album by Sugarmen, Local Freaks, being the soundtrack to my past couple of weeks. The Liverpool group have provided an insightful and imaginative commentary on the city and its people, something which I am currently becoming accustomed to as a student at the University.
The theme which pays “homage to some of the mad, interesting people” the band have met, and undoubtedly to the city itself, plays out tastefully throughout the lyrics. As explained by the band: “every person mentioned is someone real”, the love shown for Liverpool is also seen to be very much real, through lyrics such as “No I won’t get on my bike for a job/ I’d rather stay in the city that I love”. The genuine nature of Local Freaks is just one of the things that makes this album so enjoyable.
Tributes to Liverpool and the people who reside there are not limited to lyrical references, the 13 track album is bursting with evidence of influence from an array of Liverpudlian bands. From Echo and the Bunnymen to Hooton Tennis Club, the ability Sugarmen have to bring various styles together in an overall pleasing indie package is undeniable. Other reviews have referenced numerous artistic styles being evident, including David Bowie, The Clash, The Libertines, Blur, and Lou Reed. There are so many skilfully constructed elements to the album that despite the many influences being heard, it also has it’s very own style which fits nicely into the indie scene at the moment. The overall upbeat tempo is one that I can imagine would be a joy to see live.
The storytelling style that Sugarmen display is something that guitarist Luke Fenlon references as having captured his interest with bands like The Velvet Underground, it’s a trope also perfected by Arctic Monkeys. Cleverly wording an artistic viewpoint on seemingly ordinary happenings and making them universally relatable is an impressive skill, and one that this band have mastered with their debut. Local Freaks is a very impressive foundation for Sugarmen to build upon, its appeal is far stretching and the genuine talent that has gone into the album is something that I’m sure will be successfully utilised again in the future.