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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

ROCK SUGAR: "Reimaginator" 9

Indie 2010 
Review by Alan Holloway,  
3rd March 2010

This is one of those that divides opinion right down the middle, with some seeing it as a shameless cash in and others as a right good laugh. Steel Panther have paved the way for retro irony done with style, and now it’s the turn of the Loud & Clear boys to try and get their paws on some of that filthy lucre. Yep, after delighting the crowd of Firefest 6 with a creative mix up of “Don’t Stop Believin” and “Enter Sandman” (aka “Don’t Stop The Sandman”), Loud & Clear have gone the whole hog and created an alter ego of a band whose biog says they were marooned on a desert island with only a teenage girls beatbox for company. Or something…

The formula here is deceptively simple. First, take the riff from a well known 80s rock song, like “Living On A Prayer” for example. Next, take another well known song then cut & paste the lyrics over the top of the first song. The example we will use here is “Living For The Weekend” by Loverboy. Then, just squish them together like a peanut butter and jam sandwich, throw in the guitar refrain from “Sweet Child Of Mine” and you have a very entertaining song. No, really!

If the above sounds like a Frankenstein experiment gone wrong to you, then just maybe this isn’t for you. The thing is, this could have been awful but is saved by the talent of the guys involved and the respect for the source material. Jess Harnell is a really talented vocalist who easily handles the different styles involved, and the rest of Loud & Clear back him without breaking a sweat. At times you can’t help thinking that this is the work of an evil genius, such as when you hear “Heaven & Heaven”, an improbable but impressive mash of “Heaven” by Bryan Adams and Warrant’s song of the same name. If that doesn’t grab you, try the absolutely perfect mix of “I Love Rock & Roll” and “Pour some sugar On Me”, called, naturally, “I Love Sugar On Me”. As for “Dreamin’ Of A Whole Lotta Breakfast”, there’s three songs involved but you’ll have to guess which ones! To be honest, that’s half the fun sometimes, even when the likes of Paula Abdul and Aimee Mann are involved.

So this is both inspired and insane, evil and divine, majestic and mad. With that said, I can’t help playing it. Steel Panther gave us memorable 80’s rock tunes with rude, clever lyrics. This was fine, but comedy songs always have a limited shelf life and I haven’t played it in an age. Rock Sugar, on the other hand, have made an album that is much more clever than it is funny, and more entertaining than it is a novelty. Not everyone’s cup of tea, or stick of rock, but if you like it, you will love it. 

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