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Sweet Jane – Sugar For My Soul

May 10, 2011 by  

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Sweet Jane – Sugar For My Soul

NAME: Sweet Jane
ALBUM: Sugar For My Soul
DATE: 2May2011

LABEL: Reekus Records


FIVE WORD REVIEW: Echoing vocals meet well-executed Americana.

LOCATION: Dublin, Ireland

LINE UP: Danda Paxton (lead guitar/vocals), Lydia Des Dolles (vocals/percussion), Ruairi Paxton (bass), Donagh O Brien (drums).

Sweet Jane - Sugar For My Soul.jpg

WHAT’S THE STORY?: While it may not be as big a deal as it used to be around a year or two ago, Sweet Jane have already managed to secure the MySpace Artist of the Week slot. It’s not hard to see why, to be completely honest; the production values on debut album Sugar For My Soul are top-notch, clean, crisp and professional. What’s more, the music isn’t half-bad either.

Drawing directly from American rock in the 80s, it doesn’t seem to impact on Sweet Jane’s individuality and is evidenced from the first few seconds as the striking chords of ‘Bleed’ kick in.

However, having released ‘Close Your Eyes’ and ‘Black Eyes’ already as singles, it’s only fair to give them pride of place early on. The first of the pair is a relaxed rock-out with excellent vocal harmonies and simple guitar work. The echoing percussion and emotion of the song make you think it’s initially a short song, though the two-minute marker’s breakdown of speed leads to a second wind. What’s more, the floating voice of Des Dolles sounds like it’s being sung in a cathedral and is almost as powerful as it would be if it was. It’s inoffensive yet enjoyable; you’d not get bored of it on a small radio playlist, that’s for sure.

‘Black Eyes’ plays upon this ethereal vocal work but doesn’t really have the same hooks. It build up to something seemingly bigger and better in the final few seconds, but to no avail – the lack of another part means that it suffers from that dull U2-style repetitive fretwork, adopting Celtic undertones without really playing more than scaling chords. With a stronger voice, it may have something extra; until then, it dulls the senses with a lack of commitment to a memorable tune, because it won’t stay with you.

As for the rest? ‘Where’s Your Money?’ is borderline folk that treats you to one of the most powerful riffs on the album. ‘You’re Making This Hard’ is the kind of song you’d want on in any bar at around 10pm; it’d fit into any film scene involving teenagers talking about their mutual love in a club. The chilled ‘Something For My Soul’ sounds like a 78rpm Shed Seven record played at 33rpm (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). ‘Don’t Hold Your Head So Low’ is just beautiful – you’d be mad not to put it on in a car at sunset on a long, straight road.

‘Fade to My Heartbreak’ seems like an odd choice to finish on, though this eight-minute wonder degenerates and gives way to a hidden psych-folk offering that really gives Des Dolles the chance to be clearly heard. It’s a beautiful voice but, well, why are you making her echo again? Come on… what are you trying to hide, Sweet Jane?

The band sadly suffers from that slightly Americanised vocal drawl; it’s not immediately noticeable that they’re not from the States, though their musical approach more than makes up for this confusion as they establish their own style of laid-back rock throughout Sugar For My Soul. It’s just a shame the vocals aren’t as clean and crisp as the production values.

SOUNDS LIKE: Most leading 80s American rock bands, though slowed down and recording in a vast warehouse.

YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF: You want dependable rock from a band that could deliver much more in the coming years. Let’s hope so, anyway.


Submitted By Matt Gardner



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