Sugar & The Hi-Lows
Ready Set Records
The musical equivalent of Meth Amphetamine.
Miss Amy Stroup and Mr Trent Dabbs have been on the Alt. Country/Country scene for a while now and both have produced some pretty wonderful solo records; but when I first discovered their side project Sugar and the Hi-Lows in 2012; my world was turned upside down.
Their self-titled debut album was a barrel of Country infused fun; and High Roller is more of the same but with melodies and hooks by the barrow load and the songs are so much sharper and lyrically astute.
Opening with a cracker of a song in Bees Left The Trees, which sounds a bit like Robert Plant and Alison Krauss if they’d been produced by Phil Spector after a night in the Playboy Mansion. Unbelievably the album manages to then take an upwards trajectory with the heartbreakingly dancetastic Can We Just Be Adults and then the title track and first single, High Roller. Imagine The Supremes backed by the Beach Boys singing The Clapping Song and you will get an idea of why I love this song.
There’s a very 60’s feel to a lot of the songs here; but the end result is far from ‘Retro’ as the buzzy guitar and ever so harmonious Graffiti Hearts shows; being a timeless song Hipsters, Garage Band fans and my wife will all love it to death.
Both Amy and Trent share lead vocal duties; and normally one singer will outshine the other; but no, no, no…..the balance of their songs is perfect in a way I’ve not heard since George & Tammy in the heyday of Country Music.
High Roller is over all too soon; and the last two songs are truly wonderful. Dabbs takes the lead on the slow burning Tennessee Quick then the duo perform the luscious moody duet Heaven to close the show.
‘Double-Excellent’ only goes part of the way to expressing my feelings on hearing this album.
I’ve used a lot of superlatives here; and every one is justified; as I’m pretty sure High Roller by Sugar & The Hi-Lows will be in my Top 10 album list at the ends of 2015.
Released June 23rd 2015