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Articles Home » 2001 Articles » Sugarbomb - 2001 Bully
Sugarbomb - 2001 Bully

Les Farrington - vocals, keyboards
Daniel Harville - vocals, guitars
Greg Bagby - guitars, vocals
Kelly Riley - bass
Michael Harville - drums, vocals

It's common knowledge that in the mercilessly ruthless music business, a long-term career for most bands is one album, one single and if they are lucky, a tour. But how's about this for an example -- barely had 'Bully', the debut album by Dallas pop-rockers Sugarbomb landed on my review desk and the band had been dropped by RCA. In fact, the axe had been wielded four weeks BEFORE release, seemingly as a consequence of the terrible events of September 11th. The story goes that the downsizing of the label's New York operations in the wake of the attack on the city is responsible for the decision. Whatever the reason, it is still utterly perplexing for band and representatives, but I dare say Sugarbomb won't be the last band to have an album recorded, mixed, and completed only for the rug to be well and truly pulled from underneath them.

The Songs
In such a context, the band's bio now reads like a darkly comic work of fiction. Littered with passages like 'Now comes the fun part - converting new believers across the country', the best part is the sentence is: 'In for the long haul, the members of Sugarbomb are aware that breaking through is a challenge for any new band. It certainly is, especially when that challenge is made impossible before it's even begun. Considering all this, 'What A Drag (How People Change)', the opening line from the song of the same name, has never sounded so apt. It's a great start to the album, and with influences ranging from Queen, Paul McCartney and even ELO, rarely has a new pop-rock record sounded so fresh or varied. One thing no doubt giving Sugarbomb hope amongst all the negativity is stand-out tune, and first single 'Hello', which charted well enough (before the axe fell) for other labels to be interested in picking up the pieces of the band's career. Instant, modern and one of the pop-rock anthems of 2001 'Hello' doesn't deserve to be buried as a result of record company politics. The title track is another choice pop-rocker, full of contemporary and classic touches in Mark Endert's production, and along with the energetic 'Gone' sounds chock full of bombast and quirky individuality. 'Over' slows down the pace somewhat but the band's trademark harmonies and instinctive knack for melody once again become evident. The McCartney-isms come to the fore again on 'Motor Mouth', another up-tempo track, as well as the ballad 'Posterchild For Tragedy', a song that shows main songwriter Les Harrington has obviously listened to 'Let It Be' quite a lot.

In Summary
So, after finding out that their debut album is actually quite good, what now for a band dealt the cruellest of blows that a new band can suffer? The good news for those lucky enough to hear this album is that Sugarbomb intend soldiering on in the hope another label picks up and re-releases 'Bully'. Considering the talent evident on it, they were clearly not dropped because they recorded a sub-standard album. Sugarbomb can justifiably complain of a raw deal, but fans of 70's pop rock executed in a modern, exciting way will find little on 'Bully to moan about.

Track Listing:
01 What A Drag
02 Bully
03 Hello
04 Mail Order Girlfriend
05 Motor Mouth
06 Clover
07 Over
08 Gone
09 Posterchild For Tragedy
10 Waiting
11 After All

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#1 | jeffduran on February 26 2009 11:45:33
agree. perhaps one of the greatest power pop albums in the past decade!
#2 | reyno-roxx on February 26 2009 18:12:06
There was an album released before they signed to RCA. It's pretty hard to find now, but well worth searching for. In some ways the material is better than on 'Bully'.
#3 | jeffduran on February 26 2009 19:38:22
It's called 'Taste Like Sugar'. I will add a couple Sugarbomb links in the D/L section.
#4 | Eric on February 27 2009 20:41:35
'perhaps one of the greatest power pop albums in the past decade'

Agree to disagree Jeff, but I do think this is a spectacular album!Thumbs Up
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