Food for the soul
Dublin quartet Sweet Jane's "Sugar For My Soul" is a defiant mix of all out rock n roll, tender blues and searing rock songs. The record kicks off with the rollicking 'Bleed', showcasing the powerful vocals of Lydia Des Dolles, a charismatic front woman who is part Patti Smith, part Karen O; poetic, sincere and rebellious. Although fast-paced cuts are not all Sweet Jane are good for. As the album progresses, more tender and heartfelt emotions are unveiled, none more prevalent than on 'I've Been Waitin'. The song harbours a more bluesy-folky nature than the raucous stylings of the record's first two cuts and it is here that we are first exposed to the deep undercurrent of soul and feeling that the Irish band have in abundance.
When the album lands on 'Something For My Soul', influences and interests come to the forefront. The Spector-esque 'wall of noise' that surrounds the track and the harmonies that accompany it can be easily compared to the cult noise-pop act The Jesus and Mary Chain. Yet perhaps more prominently, the pioneering work of dark rockers, The Velvet Underground, whose very own track 'Sweet Jane', the band take their name from. Coincidence? I think not. But the heart of the group lies in the chemistry between Lydia and guitarist/joint vocalist, Danda Paxton. Paxton's Celtic tinge is present on 'Bleed', forming a sensational double vocal assault and also on 'Where's Your Money', where the two combine again, and the chemistry just bounces off the record and into your ears.
One thing is for sure, this blues-infected Irish rock band is only going to get better with time. The influence of the rock classics resides unashamedly on the majority of their tracks, and the band, wearing their idols on their sleeves, are only better for it. Take 'You're Making This Hard' for example, the crunching bass line and simplistic drumming would not sound out of place amongst the dream pop classics of "Psychocandy", it is clear that Sweet Jane are bringing atmospheric choruses and spiky guitar drawls back to the forefront of popular music. Mixing big choruses, folk tendencies and a dash of attitude, "Sugar For My Soul" is a tender powerhouse of an album.