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Sugarwood — Catch a Breeze and Fly
(Sweet Tree SW004, 1997, CD)

Sugarwood — Love, Loss & Carparks
(Sweet Tree SW005, 1998, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2000-05-01

Catch a Breeze and Fly Cover artLove, Loss & Carparks Cover art

Sugarwood have been kicking around parts of the UK for a few years now, and seem to have gathered a following (if internet activity is any indication). They fit in more or less with the current generation of “jamming” American bands – Phish, Blues Traveler, and the like, but with a British slant. They remind me of blues-pop keyboard-oriented bands of the 70s like Procol Harum, the Moody Blues, and Barclay James Harvest, a style not being done much these days. Keyboardist Mick Byrne uses piano, organ, and Mellotron, with very little in the way of modern technology. The most noticeable feature of the band is vocalist Steve Percival, who has a very forceful and dramatic style, maybe a little much for some people’s taste. The songwriting is generally quite good (if not overly complicated), though the band do take themselves a bit seriously sometimes. The lyrical topics tend towards the spiritual or mystic, with a few concrete touches thrown in, especially in “Finchale Road” off Breeze. There are gospel touches on a number of cuts from the full-length release, used to good advantage on “The Day,” which has a repeated phrase I like a lot: “There is more to life than living out the day.” 1998 EP shows a little variety is style, with “Home” picking up the tempo to a fast rock beat. The band shows potential – though I’d like to see them expand their songwriting beyond the confines of standard structures. That could get interesting.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 19, 1997 releases, 1998 releases

Related artist(s): Sugarwood

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