Brooklyn Sugar Company are a rock and roll band. Not a rock band, a "rock and roll" band. With a sound that calls back to The Cars, The Eagles and even Elton John when he still had a cool voice. They got their start as a backing band before making the move to the front of the stage and beginning the recording of their self-titled debut in 2012. Their time spent playing together professionally shows in the performances on the album. It feels organic and mature, almost the work of a master but definitely far beyond the work of journeymen. Remarkably, the album was written in the studio. Albums I've heard in the past that were written that way usually tended to be somewhat simplistic and I'm probably wrong but that's just what I've experienced. And that isn't the case here. The songs are all well developed, especially considering that it appears to be self-produced while they pulled in Grammy-winning talent to mix the album.
The album starts off strong with "Letting You Go" a song full of multi-part harmonies and a clever rhythm. "One More For The Fire" is piano-based rock and roll at it's finest. It's followed by "You're The Only One", a song that's almost jangle-pop with a persistent organ playing in the background. I almost thought I was listening to "Bennie and the Jets" when "Running Too Long" began to play. It relies even more heavily on a strong piano than "One More For The Fire" and does so brilliantly by mixing in Eagles-esque harmonies. "The Finisher" would have fit nicely on the b-side of Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours".
Tom Petty would be proud to have written "Don't Count Me Out". It sounds like what I wish his music sounded like. "The Whiskey Song" and "Veronica" remind me of the best of Ben Kweller with great guitar solos and strong, catchy choruses. The album mellows out a bit with "Part Of Me", a song that feels familiar yet I cannot decide what it reminds me of. It's just lovely to listen to, there's just enough ornamentation without it sounding cluttered.
The album closes with the bluesy, dancy "Too Hot To Handle" and the perfect album closer, another piano-led number called "Take It Out (On Me). The only flaw with the track is the title, which relies on the tired parenthetical. But beyond that, it's a beautiful song featuring a soulful guest vocal from Robbie Gil that reminds me of The Wonder Years.
Overall, this is an album that wears its influences on its sleeve without sounding like pastiche. Each song is expertly written and performed, where nothing feels forced or mechanical.
It's like a really good greatest hits record.
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