Sugar House popped up on my radar last year and became an instant favorite thanks to their songs that belenced between groovy post-punk and sometimes edgier, sometimes more melodic indie rock, often infused with a bit of psychedelia. They had their first releases, a single and a four track EP back in 2021 and been dropping individual tracks since, which were actually leading up to this release, their first, self-titled album, containing both old and new songs. Their output so far was near flawless, mostly following the post-punk / indie-rock sound with occasional detours to other styles, including dream pop / indie pop or the heavier, metal influenced guitar sound of Try It. So their debut album was amongst my most anticipated releases… but did it deliver? Well, it did, but with a few minor setbacks.

The biggest surprise here is that the edgier sound, that characterized the majority of their previous output takes a backseat here and instead, they let the more pop oriented songs take center stage. This more mellow sound is nothing new for them, they had some memorable dream pop tunes in the past, including So Bad and Just Wanna Live It Up and the even more poppy Part Of Life (all included in the album), but 25, the first proper track following the short intro, takes the auto tune infused sound of these one big step furher and crosses over to almost mainstream sounding pop-rock territories. The rumbling, edgy post-punk kicks in with I Want It and after The Fog, a slow, beautifully crafted melancholic piece, it returns with Shadows, another new track that heavily relies on the genre’s trademark howling guitar sound. They follow it up with an older, but similar tune, Move, where the band’s rhythm section really shines, but then they take an another turn towards their mellower side, with the three aformentoned older dream pop tracks before they wrap up the album with the dreamy psychedelia of Ⅱ (Continuation).

While the album is still a collection of great tracks, even with this noticeable shift towards the lighter side, the problem is that while it jumps back and forth between the harder and more mellow tunes, it somehow loses focus. As if the band was not sure if they should go all indie pop or stick to their post-punk / indie-rock origins and ended up going for too many different directions at once. Diversity is a good thing in most cases, but here it is just too much, and bacause of this the album falls apart a bit and the otherwise amazing songs get lost in this process. Still, with all this, the album proves that Sugar House is definitely a band that is worth to keep an eye on and it will be very interesting to see which way they will go on from here.

Sugar House
Warehouse Tracks / digital, cd
01.Intro +
04.The Fog
07.So Bad
08.Just Wanna Live It Up
09.Part of life
10.Ⅱ (Continuation)