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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Rock Sugar
Independent Release
Hard Rock/Pop
Mark Balogh

4.5 stars

These days there seems to be a lot of nostalgia-type acts around the hard rock world. With bands like WIG WAM,BROTHER FIRETRIBE and maybe the most popular of all, STEEL PANTHER, they all have the fun party vibe of the “hair metal” 80’s scene but bring it 20 plus years into the future and they seem to be making good business as they have picked up a legion of new fans who miss those days and appreciate quality musicianship and a melodic hook or two to their songs.

ROCK SUGAR has seemingly taken this idea a step (or two!) further with their “mashed up” tribute to the carefree and fun times of the 80’s! These guys have somehow taken some of the most memorable songs of that era, from both the hard rock and pop genres, and turned them into a totally enjoyable listening experience.

The concept seems simple enough but to actually pull it off as well as they have managed to it makes you think there was a lot of thought and arrangement put into this record. With song titles like “Don’t Stop The Sandman”, “We Will Kickstart Your Rhapsody”, “Voices In The Jungle” and “Shook Me Like A Prayer” you probably get the idea of what they are doing here.

No introduction is necessary to these songs so I’ll just give a quick run down of the tunes they’ve managed to “mash” into each other.

The lead track from the record is “Don’t Stop The Sandman” and as you may have imagined it is a combination of JOURNEY’s ultra-classic “Don’t Stop Believin’” and METALLICA’s “Enter Sandman”! As weird as it my sound it works extremely well and you just have to hear it to appreciate it.

Every one of the 13 tracks that “Reimaginator” has to offer works in it’s own special way but I actually found myself liking the ones that combined the truer pop songs with their hard rock counterparts. Songs like “Crazy Girl”, which combines OZZY OSBOURNE’s “Crazy Train” and RICK SPRINGFIELD’s “Jessie’s Girl” is one of my favorites as is “Straight To Rock City” which unbelievably mashes PAULA ABDUL’s “Straight Up” and KISS’s “Detroit Rock City” into one with great results!

Another, and possibly my favorite from the record, is “Voices In The Jungle”. This song is a mash-up of the GUNS ‘N ROSES classic “Welcome To The Jungle” with the great ’TIL TUESDAY track “Voices Carry”. Who would have every thought of those two songs in the same sentence before but ROCK SUGAR did and I just find myself listening to these songs over and over.

Other “mash-up’s” you’ll find on “Reimaginator” take songs by the likes of BRYAN ADAMS (“Heaven”) & WARRANT(“Heaven”) (who would have thought!?!?), AC/DC (“You Shook Me All Night Long”) & MADONNA (“Like A Prayer”) (BRILLIANT!!!) and many others from the pop and hard rocking 80’s. They all proceed to bring back some great memories and make you sing along as they mash down memory lane!

Not much more to say about this brilliant release except you need check it out for yourself. One last note, ROCK SUGAR is actually comprised of singer Jess Harnell, guitarist (bass & vocals also) Chuck Duran and drummer (& keyboards) Alex Track all of LA’s LOUD AND CLEAR band so if you like what you hear check into them also.

Band Lineup:
  • Jess Harnell – Lead Vocals
  • Chuck Duran – Guitars, Bass, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals on track 8
  • Alex Track – Drums, Keyboards, Backing Vocals


Track Listing:
  1. Don’t Stop The Sandman
  2. We Will Kickstart Your Rhapsody
  3. Crazy Girl
  4. Voices In The Jungle
  5. Here Comes The Fool You Wanted
  6. Shook Me Like A Prayer
  7. Straight To Rock City
  8. Prayin’ For A Sweet Weekend
  9. Heaven And Heaven
  10. Breakin’ The Love
  11. I Love Sugar On Me
  12. Round And Separated
  13. Dreaming Of A Whole Lotta Breakfast


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