Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Review: The Bloodsugars "I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On"

The Bloodsugars are composed of frontman and primary songwriter Jason Rabinowitz, keyboardist Matt Katz, bassist Brendan O’Grady, and drummer Kenneth Salters, the same line-up responsible for 2008’s critically-acclaimed BQEP. Founding members Rabinowitz and Katz met in college, where they “bonded over music and emotion,” listening to records in their dorm rooms. They began making music together then and there, but it wasn’t until O’Grady and Salters joined the band that The Bloodsugars really arrived at their sound. According to Katz, “Each member brings something essential to the music,” whether it be knowledge of jazz, soul, Turkish garage, French house or straight-up pop, and it is this sharing of styles and sensibilities that really lends the band their unique sound.

According to frontman Jason Rabinowitz, "I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On" is “a modern prom playlist.” Of course, prom is not without its awkward, painful moments. Written during a time of personal difficulty for band members, "I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On" is about remembering that there is always something to celebrate, even in the face of major adversity. With their combination of thoughtful lyricism and kinetic beats, the album's ten new tracks reflect a refreshing optimism and sweetness.

There is a palpable indie vibe that runs through the record, but what really makes this band unique is the incorporation of 80s new wave sounds, blended with an occasional modern house beat. Kind of like Pet Shop Boys meets Death Cab for Cutie. I give them high marks for originality. The Bloodsugars add in plenty of harmonies and strive to write memorable melodies, some sinking in more immediately than others. I was really attracted to the sample single, lead off track "Light at the End of the Tunnel", but I've got mixed feelings regarding the rest of the CD. "Light at the End of the Tunnel" works on every level and has all the markings of a big radio hit. "The Pedestrian Boogie", "Before The Accident", and "Form/Function" were also pretty enjoyable.

The band describes their sound as follows: "Imagine a house designed by Paul Simon, built by Prince, and decorated by The Flaming Lips and you’ll have some idea of where The Bloodsugars live." I'm not sure I'd want to live there, but it is an interesting house to visit from time to time. "I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On" (Engine Room Recordings) is out November 17.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 6, 10

The Bloodsugars on MySpace. Official site.

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