Rock

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - An­thony O’Grady

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.

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