SELF-TITLED CD - Sugar Knives (Standoffish Productions)
Last year (2008), I reviewed The Radishes' "Strychnine" CD EP, which was an absolutely great listening experience. Well, turns out the geniuses behind that effort - Scrote and Paul Stinson – have assembled a new band and released this new gem.

Last year’s guests included Wayne Kramer and the fierce rhythm section of Paul Barker and Rey Washam. For the Sugar Knives, Stinson and Scrote recruited Brett Anderson (The Donnas) for guest vocals and John C. Escalera, Chris Barnes and Jamison Smeltz (Trumpets, Sax and horn arrangements). The end results are amazing

The opening track “Suzanne” is a great start. The brass section, bluesy riffs and vocals all add up to a winning combination. There’s a point in the song when Smeltz’s sax solo emerges it takes me back in time to any one of those classic '70s era Stones tracks when Bobby Keyes let it blow for the Glimmer Twins. The next selection “Who’s to Blame” takes another classic song formula, the male – female perspective / vocal duet, and puts it to work. Both Anderson and Stinson detail a relationship that’s gone to the can, with too many questions unanswered and both feeling alone -pissed on. Another duet, a smoking cover of Black Flag’s “My War” is a pure stroke of genius.

What makes Scrote and Stinson so appealing is their reverence for classic rock, and late 70’s downtown NYC punk. The two, through innate songwriting ability, are able to take those scuffed up influences, shine them and turn those mediums into something new. Scrote and Stinson accomplish this task on tracks such as “Wrong Crowd”, “Friday” and “Sweet Virginia”. The riffs, upbeat mood and drive are infectious.

When you listen to The Sugar Knives self-titled CD, it’s hard to not notice the strengths of this release. It’s all there staring you in the face starting with ace songwriting, sharp performances and crisp production. Scrote and Stinson have would not allow for nothing less but quality.– Arthur S



 

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