Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The Sunshine Underground @ The Sugarmill 7th May 2009

Review by Chloe West

Photo by Gigjunkie

So who are The Sunshine Underground? Forming in Shropshire and flourishing in Leeds, the four piece broke on to the national scene with debut album Raise The Alarm back in 2006. Two years after their last tour, Sunshine are selling out venues left, right, and here in Stoke’s centre, which brings us to a delightfully rammed Sugarmill. Unfortunately (or more fortunately) I only caught the tail end of support act Boy Crisis, as they ploughed through recent single ‘L’Homme’. Hotly tipped by a certain new musical establishment, the track itself is a tight pop record, but live it’s more of, ahem, a crisis.

Not to worry though as the headliners were thankfully not so shambolic. Coming on to new material is always risky business, but the crowd received it heartily, although their appreciation fully kicked in with the dirty opening of ‘Commercial Breakdown’. This appreciation was most obviously seen in the scuffle which broke out mid way through top tune ‘The Way It Is’, tearing spectators apart as bouncers ambled through the crowd. Good old Stoke eh. Anyway, enough of petty matters, the important issue is the music itself, which more literally, is an assault upon the ears. In a good way of course. The new tracks show a matured, darker, broodier direction for the band, pushing all the quality elements of Raise The Alarm onwards and upwards. A fine example of this is a number called ‘In Your Arms’ which begins with the well known funky bass riffs, but folds into a loud layered epic, with frontman Craig Wellington making full use of his echoing vocals.

Previously associated with the emerging ‘nu-rave’ scene at the time of their debut, the band’s new tracks finds them far from comparable to the formerly aligned Klaxons and their bandwagon. Not with music like the grungy ‘Coming To Save You’ or the delicate ‘Any Minute Now’ anyway. Ending with no other than ‘Put You In Your Place’, its kick up the arse lyrics make it an anthem for many a Friday night, and an apt finish to this one too.

The new album is due out at the end of the summer.

The Sunshine Underground


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