Sugarcult: Start Static (Artemis)

Summer’s fun. Sugarcult is fun. It’s a simple equation, really. Sugarcult’s Artemis Records debut, Start Static, is getting regular radioplay with singles “Stuck in America” and “Bouncing off the Walls.” While these two tracks are more reminiscent of bubblegum popsters blink-182, the band is actually deeper than that. The other nine songs on the disc pay homage to the British New Wave invasion of the ’80s, to the Joe Jacksons and Elvis Costellos in every one of us. If you’re a fan of power pop, of singalong songs, of today’s punk rock or yesterday’s New Wave, give Sugarcult a try.

“You’re the One,” the first song, has a catchy beat and easily coerces you into liking this band. “Hate Every Beautiful Day” is more melodic and serious, dealing with depression and loss of motivation with lines like “Something’s gotta change again/I’m losing, my inspiration’s gone/seeing through some different eyes I can’t find/my medication’s failed, again.” The high-speed “Daddy’s Little Defect” will have you dancing in your driver’s seat; its lyrics are simple and easy to learn, its guitar and rapid drumbeat captivating. The pretty ballad “Lost in You” instantly evokes a montage of lovers running lightheartedly down the beach—a summer song if ever there was one.

“Pretty Girl (The Way)” showcases the range of lead singer Tim Pagnotta’s vocal abilities as he breaks into a near-anguished yelp atop a dreamy, keyboard-esque guitar. “I Changed My Name,” another in the more serious vein, is almost recited, poetrylike, over subdued accompanying music: “Three hours later and I’m staring at the ceiling still/Xanex does nothing more but calm the sleeping thrill/Turning the pillows ’round and ’round to find the cold spot for my head/Ah, bless my only friend.”

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