BANG SUGAR BANG: Thwak Thwak Go Crazy!: CD

I had many things running through my mind before listening to this disc. I know this band has been getting prime opening slots for many large bands. The cover looks kind of cartoonish and the title makes no sense to me. I hope it’s not another bunch of glam rockers trying to fly under the punk flag. The band name doesn’t exactly scream punk to me either. Putting all that aside, I was quite surprised. Here is a band that I would have bypassed easily. But after a few listens (and that’s saying a lot from me), I was truly intrigued by their music. They easily could have been a band from San Francisco, New York, or Los Angeles circa ’77 to ’81. But the slickness of the production removes that thought quickly. I have read references of X from a few. I can hear it in spots due to the female/male vocals, but it is not prevalent. Stylistically, I hear hints of X but I also hear things in a song like “Kill the Radio” that could be a guitar-driven version of the Epoxies. They also sound like so many other things that I just can’t pull it off my tongue. I hear songs sections that remind me of other songs and I hear parts of lyrics that I recognize from elsewhere. It’s driving me crazy right now trying to think what band it sounds like or who sang something. “The Machine Gun Song” sounds like something XTC or Squeeze could have played in the past, a song that is somewhat silly but is infectiously melodic. Their songs of varying flavors keep things from becoming monotonous. What sells me here is the strong vocal delivery of bassist/singer Cooper. Her vocals capture the moment. Anyway, even though they are flying under the punk banner, I would consider them more a rock band that got lumped under the punk banner due to being hard to pigeonhole. But it’s not a bad thing. This release did fall on my lap and I truly enjoy it.

 –don (SOS)