Dangerous Sugarchild MGM
is Sugarchild’s album of a lifetime, or a band’s rebirth — hopefully the latter. In 1994, vocalist/keyboard player Katie Attwell, bassist Jo Dolphin and guitarist Ian Dolphin were wideeyed teens in Perth’s alternative music scene. For a while they were the next big thing. And then they weren’t. They forged careers outside music and raised families. Last year they recruited drummer Tim Jewell and wrote songs for Dangerous, returning to the ideal of 1990s alternative, where musical skill and exuberance contrasted lyrics from the dark underbelly. Waiting for the World to End suggests suicide; Offering is lifted from the zombie apocalypse TV series The Walking Dead. Running Race is the exhausted abandonment of career ambition. The music is dynamic; and, lyrically, the realisation that “I wrote my name in starlight like all the other girls” is followed by: “But knives like this they cut so deep” ( Waiting for the World to End). Ian Dolphin’s muscular rhythms and epic solos build to mighty crescendos, particularly so on the opening and closing tracks, Waiting for the World to End and Dangerous. Behind him is the bedrock of Jo Dolphin’s bass and the orchestral sweep and thump of Jewell’s drumming. His offbeat underpinnings establish the dimensions and scope of Ease Your Mind and Running Race. When the band is in full flight, with Attwell soaring, Sugarchild sparks the joy that strength can/will prevail over aberrations, hurt and failure. There are times too when Atwell evokes characters’ states of mind — singsong abrasive in Like a Fool, frolicsome throughout Ease Your Mind. It’s the strengths of the individual players and the realisation of fused influences and emotionality too long nascent that lifts Dangerous to magnificence.