If Lisa Miskovsky did Shoegaze.
Swedish alternative rockers Spunsugar popped onto my radar with their debut album ‘Drive-Through Chapel’ last year. Their mixture of dreamy alt-rock which felt quite 80’s on one hand, mixed with shoegaze elements from the 90’s on the other, was great. Their new EP ‘Things That I Confuse’ continues this trend with four tightly woven bangers. It does nod slightly towards a poppier sound for the future though.
Two tracks stick out for me in particular as rock anthems. ‘Hatchet’ is a noisy guitar track. Grizzly basslines, distorted vocals and a big drum machine make their mark in the verses. Then the chorus hits with a Curve-esque bent to the guitars that carry through into the non-vocal sections too. It has power, form and feels tightly structured. ‘Pink and Red’ is as shoegaze as Spunsugar gets on the EP too. It’s everything gazers will want with four-chord riffs, duelling guitars and even some sparkling synths to give a bit of glamour.
Far poppier, taking ABBA cues (whilst still being rock) are ‘Rodan’ and the title track. Here Spunsugar has led with bright guitars, retro drum machines, lighter vocals and feel very 80’s inspired. The synths are big and bold too and I can smell the hairspray and glitter from here. The tracks are catchy and they still contain an element of a wall of sound, but you’d also imagine them on Top of the Pops from 1988 too. That’s not a bash, it is a nod to the EP’s maximalist idea of drum machine and processing. What keeps the music interesting sonically is that this is then reprocessed into a lo-fi sound of sorts. So you have all this huge pop production being funnelled into a smaller haze of noise and that’s what gives Spunsugar their edge.
Whilst I do prefer the more shoegaze rock side of the EP, Spunsugar has shown they can do that and incorporate pop influences too. It’s a fun EP and maybe priming listeners for a shift in direction for the future. If that’s the case, it’ll work nicely as a transitional piece too. Summer gazing for Winter months.
Recommended track: Hatchet
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