Sugarthief – ‘I Before E’ | EP Review

Sugarthief Release Debut EP ‘I Before E’, A Brave Step In a New Direction

After a long wait Sugarthief have finally released their debut EP. The band teased about the release last year which left a lot of people with anticipation. However, after working on it making sure nothing is left unchecked, the ‘I Before E’ EP has arrived.

First off, the EP is stacked as the Birmingham boys have packed 7 songs on there, making the release sound like a real feature. The EP starts out with two previously released tracks; ‘Good Luck I Hope You Make It’ and ‘Modern Man both receiving a healthy upon their release. These serve as a great introduction to the EP offering some familiarity, as they blend you in for the whirlwind. Both tracks have memorable chorus’ and will easily become favourites for a live crowd.

Our first step into the unknown comes with ‘Talk In Moderation’. This has a laid back breeze feel surrounding it, as the bass hits those low notes. Jordi’s voice syncs up with the rhythm, showing a different side to his often charged vocals. This continues with ‘I’m Not Yours’, which has an innocent little intro with these soft keys. Their sound has a certain dream pop influence to them. The track leaves a scent of Tame Impala as Jordi sings “I’m Not Yours’ and Jack’s guitar swims in reverb.

Photo by Briony Graham-Rudd

Anywhere’ then bursts in which is a touch closer to the Sugarthief you may have once known, as the indie guitar banger pillars are all there. The riff is dreamy along with the quick impactful drum fills. Jordi sings “No I ain’t going anywhere” serving as a hook you could imagine a live crowd eating up.

Adding a Different Element.

With the addition of Harry Handford on keys, you can evidently hear the development in the bands sound. Sugarthief haven’t added keys for the sake of it, it was a conscious decision made to shift the band into a different musical direction, and it’s benefitted them.

This can be mostly heard in ‘Why’d You Listen (You Shouldn’t Listen)’ where the keys play a prominent part for the main hook. There’s a loose connection to Arctic Monkeys Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino with the style, but it’s still very much a Sugarthief track. It’s impressive to see them tackle something as complex as this with the unique musical arrangements. It will be a treat to see them perform it live. The delay on the drums adds to the haunting feel to the song, backed by tumbling guitar riff.

Finally we end on an acoustic backed track entitled ‘Things I Heard’. This is a short treat, wrapping up the affair swiftly. The subtle production on the song makes it minimalistically beautiful with Jordi reeling off lyrics like; “I don’t understand overthinking” along with “I got these trousers cuz they look funny”, giving you the sense he is just singing things he’s heard in a poetic tone.

Overall.

The release confirms that the wait was all worthwhile, with the band penning an EP which opens another door. Not to discredit their previous work, but these songs feel full and mature. There will always be a place for ‘Crowing Youth’ and ‘Joy Affair’ but having this EP gives the band even more depth. If you follow Sugarthief you always had the feeling that their debut EP would special, and it’s everything they needed it to be. Finally, we can stop waiting for the EP, and just enjoy them playing it live.

5/5

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