Coming back almost a year after the release of their self-titled debut, The Dirty Blonde, is back with a vivacious and thoughtful follow up record, Sugarmilk. The record bounces back and forth between raucous shoegaze, temperate garage rock and full on grunge with some tracks a conglomerate of all of the aforementioned. Sugarmilk’s inability to make up its mind creates a record that will never get old, boring or too familiar. Though, the musicians behind the band are all too familiar with each other. Brothers Paddy Gallagher (bass) and Danny Gallagher (guitar/vocals), Dean Canale (drums) and David Rybacki (guitar/vocals) grew up together in the same neighborhood in Glasgow where they learned about the music of Ween, R.E.M. and even traditional folklore of Scotland. Together they created their own version of what music should sound like which some people didn’t agree with. Paddy and Danny were known to be kicked out of music classes during their schooling but it paid off for them to stay true to their musical instincts. Each track highlights the Glasgow boys’ talent and creativity as musicians and beneath the bands’ unique qualities I hear some familiar sounds like Protomartyr, Futurebirds and Slowdive.
At the top of Sugarmilk is “Bends”, a track that perks the ears of shoegaze fans like myself. “Bends” is short and to the point, just like introductions should be. Blink and you’ll miss the track but you’ll likely find yourself listening to it over and over again because the driving energy behind “Bends” is quite addicting.
The opposite of “Bends” is the following track, “Bottom Feeder.” It stretches itself out to be twice as long coming in at 5 minutes but as far as 5 minute tracks go, this one holds on tight. It starts gently but builds carefully and apprehensively until it crashes down with a flooding sense of release.
The more mellow tracks like “Going Home” and “Grieving Friend” offer a more pensive perspective on The Dirty Blonde while high speed “Husky” highlights how high the boys can crank the volume up. Their reflective lyricism intermixed with the assortment of moods, styles and genres of music makes Sugarmilk a refreshing taste of one interpretation of garage rock.