"Sugar Crease - “Lemon Warhead”
“Lemon Warhead” is one of those magical moments in your musical journey of discovery in which you know you have struck gold before all the rest of the world catches up with it. Those special times when you listen to an album that feels like no one but you has heard before and the next thing you know BBC6 Music has it on full rotation. To create an album that is unapologetically varied throughout is a rare art-form in itself. A tasteful concoction that is hard to pinpoint exactly what it is. An album which makes you fully realise the power of Bandcamp and hashtags.
Take Beck’s 1996’s timeless classic “Odelay” for example. How do you define or categories such sound when every track on it could easily be followed up with a full album of that style?. “Lemon Warhead” is one of those albums, I’m happy to inform. “A humorous adventure through the undergrowth of whimsical experimental folk” is how the band themselves describe it on their Bandcamp page. As much as I agree with that quote and as enticing as it sounds, it still probably sells this album short. The replay-ability factor of this album has a lot of potential. Something that in 5, 10, 30+ years time will always sound interesting.
The opening track “Rooms” greets you in euphoric post punk bliss. A saturated sonic ray of sunshine hitting you from every angle. But before you can come to terms with what you’ve just heard, we then take a visit to a Mancunian spaghetti western with “High Wire Walker”. A perfect hook that I can picture accommodating any high octane TV series or film. By the time we get to the JJ Burnell-esque track “Karambolage”, it becomes evident that we have a versatile band here that know how to write catchy and potent tunes that stay in your head for days on end.
I don’t personally like to compare an original sounding up and coming band to other established artists, but we’re only human, and its hard not to when all through the album you get gentle hints of sounds that you feel you’ve heard before but in a new way. Television, Talking Heads, Wire, Roxy Music, James, Frank Zappa, I Ludicrous and even Primus are all welcoming in the new sound of Sugar Crease.“Fancy Paper” is a gorgeous track that ever so gently waves to bands like The Cars in the most unique way. And for me, the highlight of the entire album and even the highlight of this year in music generally is the tropical paradise of a track called “Rhyl”. The sort of song that could even bring depression itself out of depression. A desert island disc of a song that would sit nicely next to “Graceland” with its heavy South African tinge sprinkled on top of it.
Humour is also a really important part of this project. Lyrically, the use of it is interwoven every so often to give the album a real human element to it. Even the music is like a Lee Evans stand up act. Its not forced in any way and is a really clever touch that makes me want to connect with the music more. With such a packed array of instruments and styles, its dense production still allows for every part of this album to be appreciated and breathe. The kind of production where after a year you could listen to this album again and pick out another sound you probably didn’t notice before.
After the total shutdown of live music in 2020, the prospect of seeing Sugar Crease perform live is the optimistic pipe dream we’ve all been waiting for. Seeing and hearing them perform live is something I wholeheartedly hope that the band decide to venture into when the world thinks that they and the rest of the musicians and artists out there are viable enough.
“Lemon Warhead” can be purchased on limited edition CD and download now from the groups Bandcamp page - https://sugarcrease.bandcamp.com/releases
We had a chat with the band about their history and where they have been all this time. It has to be said that they are very funny people and it truly shows in this interview.
Lets start off relatively easy, how are you doing?
Christian: “Everything is fam damp and dozey.” Adam: “aye, all Brillo Padio.” Mick: “I’ve got a cigarette lighter that won’t go out.”
Hows the reception for “Lemon Warhead” going?
“It’s better than anticipated but we were never in it for that. To our surprise, the album turned out pretty good and now we’re hoping for a bit of stroking...just a little bit...which might lead to some heavy petting...if anybody’s up for it. Contact number to below”.
Where did the band form?
“the Crease formed in a 4 by 6, pine, tongue and groove, 10mm thick, rectangle shed with a Charles and Di bottle opener between the 3 of us."
How many members/contributors make up Sugar Crease?
"it’s Thingy, Me and Him with many other musical performers (friends and family) who we get in for musical performing. If we need a plasterer, we get a plasterer!”
How long have the band been around for?
“How dare you! 4 years, 5 months, 3 days, 23 minutes and 47p change.”
Prior to releasing “Lemon Warhead”, have you performed live before?
“No, because we never intended to. Not to get woolly, we only ever meant to make music between ourselves and as a creative outlet, without ambition and the trappings of the music industry. Everybody should have something similar to what we’ve got, it’s therapeutic - creation for its own sake.”
Do you intend on playing live once the COVID gods permit us?
“Yes, after this album, we’ve realised it would be good to make more people laugh besides ourselves; and we’d like to hang that albatross around other people’s necks. Incidentally, we’ve a range of his and hers Albatross necklaces available on our website.”
How long did it take in total to create “Lemon Warhead”?
“including COVID, drawing cartoons, selling genuine fake bronze buddhas, playing in various snooker competitions....2 years. Give or take a chick pea curry and an afternoon off.”
The music on the album is extremely varied in styles, can you explain the reasoning or inspiration behind this?
“No.” 10. What influence has Manchester had on the band? — “Manchester is such a creative place, it’s hard not to be influenced by it all. The music, from pop to rock, punk to dance, indie to M people, and good old David Essex; also the culture, the dynamic history and don’t get us on to the food.” 11. What are your future plans with Sugar Crease? — “same again please Mary.”
I think that “Lemon Warhead” is one of the best albums of 2020 and really hope it reaches the masses, do you plan on reaching wider audiences? Radio perhaps? Heavy promotion?
“We’re over the moon you like it, we think it’s OK too. We’d love to reach wider audiences, also the thinner audiences, the longer audiences, the tea loving audiences and not forgetting the forgotten. They’re a great set of lads.”
Because of COVID, one cannot simply discover new music in a live setting this year and we are having to adapt to get our sonic fix. Does it surprise you when people like myself discover your music on a whim just by going on Bandcamp and using the hashtag #Manchester?
“Yes, because we put #Dudley”
How important has Bandcamp and social media been in helping you to cut out the record label and release the music you want to make yourself?
“It’s massively important because you have found us and we hope many more people do. BANDCAMP has been a positive and enlightening start for us, the album is selling like mad. We bought our mams granite work surfaces off the winnings and we’ve bought ourselves a square plate each and we’re ordering tiny foods we don’t understand.”
If the offer was there and fair, would you sign to a label?
“(big polar bear pause) ... yes." 16. If you could support any artist or band at a gig, who would you choose? — Mick: “Ministry, David Essex and Five.” Adam: “Talking Heads, Elic Crapton and Susan Boyle.” Christian: “Can, Roxy Music and Leonard Cohen RIP”.
What makes you happy in life?
“Fish and Chips, canals, small walls, derelict mills, hairy faced babies, uncomfortable moments and strange faces in bushes.”
Thankyou for your time, any last words you would like to say to our readers?
“be safe, be good, love your mum and dad, and you can pop round for a brew anytime you like -don’t bring your mad mates. Ciao banana.”