ALBUM REVIEW: TOPS – Sugar At The Gate | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

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Arbutus Records

Released 9.6.17




If there’s one band that understands how to make happy pop music It’s TOPS. The Montreal four-piece’s debut Tender Opposites provided a lo-fi perspective of the band’s brilliant instrumental talents, whilst 2014s Picture You Staring demonstrated their ability to forge beautifully emotive guitar music.

Sugar At The Gate once again dabbles in curling, sun-kissed guitar melodies and dreamy keys that could make the most hardened of listeners melt like a half-eaten 99. Singer, Jane Penny’s vocals lilt each word in an effortless performance, peaking on the funk-laden rhythms of Cutlass Cruiser, fantastically catchy standout Petals and intimate closer Topless.

As the shortest track on the album, Dayglow Bimbo is a much-welcomed injection of energy and a huge diversion for the band, sounding more like Yuck and fuzz-laden slacker bands than their usual slick, cleanliness. Sugar At The Gate is probably TOPS best moment yet. The satisfying blend of well-timed chord changes, floating synths and featherlike drum beats create something that handsomely rewards repeated listens, especially on the sunnier days.

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