[sic] Magazine

Dead Confederate – Sugar

Dead Confederate haven’t changed direction in so much as they’ve changed idols for their second long-player Sugar. Their impressive debut, Wrecking Ball, took the southern-fried grunge of fellow Georgia state natives Manchester Orchestra , turned it all the way up to ten, and threw in a little rockin’ alt-country for good measure. Just as the 5-piece’s preceding EP had done, it culminated with the epic enormity of “The Rat”, but Wrecking Ball was not limited to this one moment and in particular its tail end was full of raw power. With it still ringing in the ears, Sugar appears a bit anaemic, if not diabetic, in comparison.

Sure, it has its highlights – the rippling fuzzy menace of “Quiet Kid” for example – but the focus is now much less Kurt Cobain and a lot more Billy Corgan . As good as The Smashing Pumpkins were for a time, they were also rarely as explosive as Nirvana however. This, along with more regular song lengths and Hardy Morris ‘s decision to neuter his apocalyptic howl, all land Sugar a little limply, which is peculiar as it is still a huge sounding record in places.

Its prominent drums go some way to confirming it, masquerading as automatic gunfire throughout. The massive, ponderous swell in “Semi-Thought”, the frequent and all-embracing guitar squall, as well as the stadium-sized growl of “Mob Scene” help give the argument legs too. It’s a pity then that there are also misplaced guitar solos to distract (see “Giving It All Away”) and textbook rockers that verge on the toothless.

Early on, the balladesque “Run From The Gun” provides range but will divide opinion with its languid hooks, though it nevertheless remains the most memorable cut from the album – something which perhaps speaks volumes.

It is however premature to write Dead Confederate off. Sugar has more sweet plusses than it does sickly minuses, and if the band stick with The Smashing Pumpkins for influence they may well have a Mellon Collie moment to come next. Now, that would be the kind of sweet Goldilocks got off on.

Advised downloads: “Father Figure” and “Quiet Kid”.

~Sugar is out now on TAO / Old Flame with Kartel doing the distrubution for some non-US regions.~