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Sugary Goodness

By Mike Breen · May 20th, 2009 · Spill It
Tags: band, songs, rock, eat, its, pop, mattei, just
If you were to place a bet as to what local band will be the next to follow the likes of Bad Veins, Pomegranates and Daniel Martin Moore into the ranks of “nationally acclaimed” Cincinnati area artists, putting your money on Electro/Indie foursome Eat Sugar is a pretty safe wager. One listen to the band’s excellent new EP, It’s Not Our Responsibility!, and you couldn’t be blamed for betting your life savings.

Eat Sugar’s self-titled debut EP was a strong introduction, garnering the band attention from the international press. But, at just four songs long, it provided only a glimpse of what the band is capable of. There’s still a strong New Wave vibe to It’s Not Our Responsibility!, with buzzing vintage synth sounds and danceable, jerking rhythms. But the band’s growth as composers is blaringly evident, resulting in a sound somewhere between LCD Soundsystem and The Faint. The Pop element is just as strong (if not stronger) on the new EP — singer Aidan Bogosian delivers hook after hook with one of the best voices on the local scene. Those suave, soulful vocals plus Bogosian’s model-ready good looks and commanding stage presence make him a genuine Rock Star in the making.

Producer John Schmersal, the guitarist for late Dayton band Brainiac and currently leader of Brooklyn’s Enon, is the perfect match for Eat Sugar. His work on It’s Not Our Responsibility! brings out the more subtle Electro experimental quirks in the mix (there’s even some Art Rock horns here and there), which makes the songs even more interesting.

But it’s Eat Sugar’s bulging beats, electronic creativity and knack for quirky Pop song construction that makes the EP such a magical listening experience.

Eat Sugar plays a free CD release show this Friday at the Northside Tavern with special guests The Sleeps and Okay Lindon. See ’em now so you can say you saw them when. (eatsugarmusic.com)

Tempers’ Flair

Veteran singer/songwriter Maurice Mattei and his band The Tempers celebrate the release of their new CD, Mauled, this Saturday at The Redmoor in Mt. Lookout. The show will feature an opening set by local Surf Rock band Don’t Fear the Reverb.

Before The Tempers, Mattei was known for solo acoustic gigs (which he still performs on occasion) and minimalist (often just acoustic guitar and vocals) CD releases that showcase his deft songwriting talents. But Mattei sounds like a new man with The Tempers, developing a catchy Garage Pop style that at times recalls AM radio hits from the ’60s. The band itself is aces, with Bill Grapes and Mike Grimm, formerly of Garage greats The Mortals, supplying bass and drums, and Rick Howell offering agile harmonica.

The cleverly-titled Mauled is the full-band version of Mattei’s acoustic project, Kenwood Towne Center, which featured songs named after stores located in the area mall (this new version includes three songs not on the original project). The production and arrangements of the songs are fantastic, giving the album a real diversity, moving from stirring piano balladry (“White House/Black Market”) to newer-Dylan Roots Rock (“Chico’s”) to Euro street Folk (“Aeropostale”) to hooky, vintage-styled Pop Rock (“Let’s Go Straight,” “Crabtree & Evelyn”). Even the less “filled out,” more minimal tracks are laced with majestic additives like lush strings, piano tinkles and Howell’s tasty harmonica licks.

The mall “theme,” thankfully, is mostly limited to the song titles — this isn’t a concept album about working the hot-pretzel stand. As usual with Mattei, the songwriting is top-notch, deep and poetic and full of concise, erudite character studies and stories. But with The Tempers’ assistance, Mattei’s delivery has become more animated and varied. (myspace.com/mauricematteithetempers)

CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen@citybeat.com



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