Sulk: Graceless (Perfect Sound Forever, 2013)


Mierda de la Buena

Está claro que cuando oigáis el disco de debut de Sulk (gracias, Jose Campos), el combo londinense, todos me vais a decir (incluidos los Pitchforkistas o Nmistas) que ésto no se trata más que de un calco del sonido Madchester, que ya está más que inventado, que no dicen nada nuevo… Y todos llevaréis razón: Graceless es un álbum que podría haberse grabado perfectamente en el año noventa y pocos, que podría haber registrado el mismo John Squire. Pero a mí me ha alegrado enormemente reencontrarme con un grupo de jóvenes empeñados en revivir el espíritu Stone Roses, la chulería de los Happy Mondays o el ingenio de los Soup Dragons.
Cuando escucho Sleeping beauty, Diamond in ashes, Marianne Shrine, Wishes, Down, Back in bloom y por supuesto, la magnífica Flowers, de lejos la mejor del disco… sinceramente, me vuelvo a emocionar como hacía veinte años. Es algo irreprimible. Disfruté mucho entonces de aquel momento, de aquella música, de aquellas sensaciones, y Sulk me las han hecho revivir. No en vano, los chicos han trabajado junto con Ed Buller (Blur, Suede, PulpWhite Lies…) Al oír Graceless recuerdo el There´s no other way del primer trabajo de Blur y me dan ganas de dejarme de nuevo el pelo largo y taparme los ojos con él. Y no me importan nada otros criterios musicales. A mí me gusta. Y mucho: Mierda de la buena.


How often do you go to a gig early to catch the support act? Do you ever expect to come away loving them? I often approach support acts with a cautious optimism. I never expect to particularly take to them. That changed when I saw Sulk, a London-based five piece band, supporting the Dandy Warhols. They made me stand up and take note and since that moment I’ve followed their progress, eagerly awaiting their debut album. That debut has now arrived in the shape of 10-track long‘Graceless’.
Sulk are a band unafraid to wear their influences on their sleeves. It would be impossible to walk away from listening to this album and not think of The Stone RosesOasis and Suede. It’s not at all surprising to learn the album is produced by Ed Buller, who has previously worked with Suede, Blur and White Lies. From the hopeful psychedelic-indie guitar pop riffs to lead singer Jon Sutcliffe’s whimsical voice, Sulk sound like they could have been formed in the early nineties. They take their lead from all the best material of those bands, which is no bad thing and brings exciting results.
Listeners are spoilt for choice of standout tracks here. ‘Wishes’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Flowers’, ‘Diamond in Ashes’ and ‘Marian Shine’ all sound good enough to have appeared on any Stone Roses or Suede album. Early single ‘Wishes’ is easily the best track here. Its euphoric tones are reminiscent of Suede’s ‘Animal Nitrate’ and with its catchy chorus it is destined to play over and over in your head for just as long.
As a collection, ‘Graceless’ does have its slower moments but it is at its best during the uplifting, upbeat tracks.  That first time I saw Sulk live I said they had ‘ready-for-festival’ tunes, this album does little to disprove that theory. This kind of music is meant to be listened to late afternoon at a summer festival while enjoying an ice cold beer and swaying along with your mates. The ONLY way to listen to ‘Graceless’ is very loudly while the sun is shining, any other environment wouldn’t do it justice.
What works about Sulk is that they manage to tie-in blasts from the past and add a current edge. They manage to make the old sound fresh again and that is no easy task. Debut album ‘Graceless’ may not be uniquely groundbreaking but it marks a solid arrival onto the indie-pop scene. Undoubtedly this is one that will appeal to Britpop fans, especially with the current trend for those old bands reuniting, but there are enough catchy and fun moments to provide a few opportunities for crossover appeal to a mainstream audience. Give it a try, this may well be your album for the summer of 2013 (if that summer ever arrives) (45 Magazine)

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