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SugaRush Beat Company - SugaRush Beat Company

SugaRush Beat Company LP

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

IT’S a fairly positive thing to say that new dance act SugaRush Beat Company defy easy categorisation. By turns supplying psychedelic funk, dark beauty, elasticated grooves and chart-friendly crowd-pleasers they evoke the memory of everyone from Prince, N*E*R*D and OutKast to Groove Armada and Motown.

Such is their diversity, however, that the album hits a similarly hit-and-miss level of quality. At their best, they get down and funky with tracks like the southern fried soul of Oh Lord (Take Me Back) or the vintage Stax strut of L-O-V-E, which again wallows in fabulously old-skool sensibilities.

The idea of marrying classic Motown/Northern Soul may not be new or original (everyone from Amy Winehouse to Duffy is currently riding its wave of success), but there’s no denying how effective it can be when done properly.

In the case of L-O-V-E, with it’s tinkling pianos, laidback beat and gospel backing, it’s tremendously effective and genuinely invigorating. Likewise, Oh Lord (Take Me Back) is full of sassy, throaty vocals and a funky percussion that’s all about playing things cool.

It leaves you pining for more… and it’s then that the two sides of SugaRush Beat Company become glaringly apparent. The synth-heavy, Prince-like pop fluff of Sugarush is more bitter than sweet tasting, while even serviceable contemporary dance fare such as Love Breed, which evokes the memory of acts like the Sugababes, pale by comparison to the album’s highest highs.

Fortunately, the balance isn’t too skew-wiff and the SugaRush Beat Company know how to maintain a good mix of styles, so that the songs aren’t overloaded in any one direction.

Former single They Said I Said is a fun romp of a dance track – lively, energetic and unashamedly sing-along. You can’t help but get sweaty on the dancefloor.

And Jesus Come Near is a smooth blend of hip hop-styled beats and soulful vocals that really does evoke the memory of OutKast.

All Of A Suddenly and the dark, apocalyptic menace of The End also serve to offset the more disappointing and straight-forward moments such as The Number One and Gunshots ‘N Candyfloss.

On the whole, then, a better-than-average dance album that makes for quite a stylish debut. Now, if they can only concentrate on what they do best, rather than pandering to more commercial concerns, the next album could really be something to talk about!

Download picks: Oh Lord (Take Me Back), L-O-V-E, They Said I Said, Jesus Come Near, All Of A Suddenly, The End

Track listing:

  1. Walking A Way [Intro]
  2. Love Breed
  3. SugaRush
  4. Oh Lord (Take Me Back)
  5. They Said I Said
  6. Ladies ‘n’ Gents
  7. L-O-V-E
  8. Number One
  9. No Parking
  10. Jesus Come Near
  11. All Of A Suddenly
  12. Gunshots ‘n’ Candyfloss
  13. End