Sugarbug: Flutterbye (Powertool Records)

Sugarbug: Shadows
Sugarbug: Flutterbye (Powertool Records)

As I understand it, this quietly fascinating collection by a Wellington four-piece is a reissue of songs previously unissued.

To backtrack then: Some of these 10 songs topped the capital's Radio Active charts in the 90s and others did well on bNet stations. Hardly surprising as they mine that profitable post-Flying Nun ethos (they do the Clean's Do Your Thing as an eloquent soundswell ballad) but also bring something of their own.

If the chug'n'strum of Bunny's On the Run recalls some big-bash Nun bands (with a vocal delivered with Keith Richards' languor), the more menacing and psychedelic Shadows could be the 3D's on Mogadon and you probably can't hear Lost in Space without thinking of Sneaky Feelings' command of a pop song. Sugarbug have that too in their own sweet way.

But for every reference like that, elsewhere they step well away from the obvious templates. As on the weary and slow Big Picture, the alt.pop of Flicker and the lo-range psychedelia of Dusk and Another Time and Place.

On the delightfully dreamy ballad Alien Pod Creature they bring a South Pacific sound to a song that lives up to the strangeness of its title.

Again, the past surprises the present. 

Your Comments

Michael Higgins - Jul 29, 2013

Looking forward to this. I was very taken with the horn playing on the tracks I heard from them.

post a comment

More from this section

Jon Hopkins: Immunity (Warners)

Jon Hopkins: Immunity (Warners)

British electronica artist Hopkins' discreetly understated third album Insides four years ago deservedly won followers in cinema, downbeat, trip-tronica and chill-out rock. It was less an... > Read more

Pet Shop Boys: Electric (x2)

Pet Shop Boys: Electric (x2)

The PSBoys' aural fingerprint is so distinctive that it might be possible to go two ways on this one. You could say "heard it all before" in terms of dancefloor-directed beats, cool... > Read more

New Elsewhere

RYAN BINGHAM INTERVIEWED (2104): The road and the endless highways

RYAN BINGHAM INTERVIEWED (2104): The road and the endless highways

There are plenty of easy descriptions for the bruised, whisky'n'cigarettes vocals of Ryan Bingham but one of the best was that he sounded like Steve Earle's father. That was written about... > Read more

CHARLES LLOYD; ARROWS INTO INFINITY, a doco by DOROTHY BARR and JEFFREY MORSE

CHARLES LLOYD; ARROWS INTO INFINITY, a doco by DOROTHY BARR and JEFFREY MORSE

A very odd thing happened a few years ago when I was offered an interview with the great jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd in advance of a New Zealand concert. I agreed immediately because after... > Read more