Drugs by Sugar HorseRelease date: April 17, 2020
Sometimes there are releases that just absolutely grab you and fill you with an impalpable excitement. Pressing play on Drugs the third EP from Bristol based Sugar Horse sent me into a euphoric state as it swung from shoe gaze to devastating atmospheric post-metal via ethereal moments. Not only does Sugar Horse deliver an EP full of the unexpected and the enchanted but it still finds time to be downright brilliant.
There isn’t anything on Drugs that would be a surprise to anyone who has heard Sugar Horse before. The heaviness of ‘GakEater’ is amplified in the title track and ‘Richard Branson In The Sky With Diamonds’, while shoegaze runs deep in ‘Pity Party’ yet, as before, all three cover far more ground than one genre label. ‘Pity Party’ has glorious vocals which rain over the shimmering guitar but also features guttural screams during the heavier breakdown towards the end of the track. Whilst sections of ‘Richard Branson In The Sky With Diamonds’ would not have been out of place on the last Hundred Year Old Man album it still finds appropriate places to fall to really celebrate the quiet/loud dynamic before supplying a captivating vocal delivery on the ending crescendo.
Not since Oceansize has a British band been able to meld genres so well, at one moment Sugar Horse can belt out a chorus with stunningly addictive vocals before scorching across to heavier genres. ‘When September Rain’ has the essence of the mellower side of the band and displays more of the extraordinary vocal range of Ashley Tubb and that is followed by the devastatingly monstrous ‘Dog Egg’ which mixes aggressive feedback with moments of ultimate quiet. The success of this EP is that it feels like there is so much to discover due to the shifting sounds of each of the tracks yet at the same time you get instant satisfaction from each listen.
Because Sugar Horse can coherently cover so much ground it means it can deliver an EP that is truly fulfilling yet you always know there is still so much fuel left in the creative tank. Sugar Horse isn’t afraid of neither a hook nor does it shy from getting heavy and with Drugs it links both those as it has hinted at through the previous two releases. The foundations are truly set to take this band to greatness and I can’t wait to see what else they have in store.