NYC guitarist Andee Blacksugar doesn't care about what is hip and happening. He is here to play scorching solos and serve up a mix of funk, jazz, glam rock and electro pop on his new double album In The City's Arms, flying the Black Sugar Transmission banner with a bunch of friends helping him make his vision a reality. While the whole industry is clinging to singles and EP's, proclaiming that albums are dead, he took a sharp left and offers a 24 track double album. Tapping into the energy of the Big Apple, Blacksugar's hands-on, in-your-face approach is an ode to the bright and dark sides of living in a city that offers plenty of opportunities, but also can be a Hell on Earth for the less fortunate.
Despite its overall feel as a glorious dance-rock extravaganza In The City's Arms isn't easy to digest. Blacksugar has a habit of sprinkling notes like bread crumbs serving as musical sign posts, but some of them appear lead the listener to a dead end alley - in which case you should back track and try again. It's worth it. All those asides have turned the album into a maze and the best way to avoid getting lost is to don decent headphones and enjoy the ride.
Blacksugar dedicated the album to Prince, Bowie and Lemmy, three artists who went against the grain. And like his heroes he is not afraid to takes a stand (and denouncing the use of autotune while he is at - bless him).
He has updated the relevance of grunge, glam rock, electro pop and jazz metal in one big swoop. It's a grand gesture, a 24 course meal of bravado and his magnum opus (so far).
Andee Blacksugar: vocals, guitar, bass, melodica, pocket piano, programming
Joanna Choy: vocals
Shannon Conley: vocals
Matt Farley: drums
Nelson Faro Decastro: vocals
Adam James: bass
Leon Gruenbaum: Samchillian Tip Tip Cheee Pee
Mike Hansen: drums
Thomas Hutchings: tenor sax
Matt Katz-Bohen: synths
Jimmy Lopez: percussion
Keith Robinson: drums
Dave Smith: bass
In The City's Arms is a self-released album. Pre-order from their website. Release date: June 28th.
HCTF review of Violent Muses.