EP REVIEW: Sugardown - Pieces of Yesterday (EP)
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Alternative Rock, Power Pop, Psychedelic Pop
Weakness: Genera Identity Crisis, confusing band line-up, Marketability
Pieces of Yesterday is the latest EP from Brooklyn-based songwriter/filmmaker Jason Zucker who has released 3 albums to date. Citing a recent write up: I enlisted some of my vocalist friends to sing on the album. I sing on the first song, called "Hand in Hand." The second song, "Fade Away," is sung by Drew Citron. Track three, "Into the Woods," is sung by Travis Stewart. Then Greg Cahn sings "Booze." And the fifth and final track, "Trucker," is sung by Bailey Rayne. All of the songs have been recorded, and they sound great! But unfortunately making a record is not free, and in order for me to finish it and release it the right way, I am turning to my friends, family, and arts supporters everywhere for help.
Track 1 “Hand in Hand” wastes no time getting the EP off the ground with its rock steady rhythm, infectious Americana fretwork, melodic harmonies against a catchy chorus. Track 2 “Fade Away” serves up an impressive psychedelic rock groove with methodical musical groove meshed with well-placed vocal harmonies and an impressive vocal vibe from Drew Citron. This coupled with mesmerizing lyrical content and dynamic song structure make for an impressive follow-up statement. Track 3 shifts gears a bit “Into the Woods” sung by Travis Stewart a nice moving ditty that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. As these three tracks slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical influences reminiscent of The Black Keys, Maroon 5, The Cowboy Junkies, Eric Hutchinson and even John Mayer. Zucker’s music is a psychedelic blend of college-alternative-rock and power-pop with subtle hints of Psychedelic Rock. Besides the four piece standard you will also notice impressive vocal harmonies, some ripping guitar riffs, impressive fretwork, vocal harmonies and a few Power Pop Synthetic touches here and there, All of this built upon a thick as a brick rhythm foundation. The songs themselves are short and sweet musical experiences. All singers are above the bar on all songs vocally and each fill the sonic space peacefully and unobtrusively - but it's worth mentioning Zucker is the musical visionary behind all this. He also showcases much in the way of emotion and musical depth with respect to his writing. The writing, playing, and singing abilities of Zucker and company are amazing. From Hypnotic “Booze” to the perfect finale statement “Trucker” this EP has something for just about everyone.
I typically don't give out 10 star ratings out to EPs. The Full length release is a more complete snapshot to judge an artists by at any given time. The CD suffers for mild case of genera identity crisis. The CD spreads itself way to thin. I Would recommend Zucker narrow the fairway a bit with respect to his overall sound. I’m also not crazy about the 5 singer line-up only adding to the overall confusion. If I had to pick one I would go with Citron and Rayne for all tracks like the B2's. Yeah I like that idea - no kidding. I fully realize this is a subjective art form but many of the aforementioned issues do effect the CD”s overall marketability.
Overall this latest EP release from Sugardown makes its mark and then some leaving a lasting impression upon the listener. The music is clean, psychedelic, unpredictable and highly entertaining with messages that are passionate, and highly creative and unpredictable. At the end of the day – Jason Zucker is an amazing musical threat and possesses enough songwriting prowess and vision to be extremely dangerous. “Pieces of Yesterday” is just a blast to listen to and Jason Zucker is no doubt a blast to either hang out with or check out live. This release clearly proves he’s a marquee singer/songwriter from Brooklyn.