Last year, Swedish shoegaze outfit Spunsugar dropped their debut EP, Mouth Full Of You. The trio is now back with their debut full-length album, Drive-Through Chapel, via Adrian Recordings.
Made up of Elin Ramstedt (vocals, guitar), Cordelia Moreau (drums), and Felix Sjöström (bass), Spunsugar’s genesis occurred when Cordelia and Elin became friends in their early teens. Their disparate sonic palates – Cordelia’s jangle-pop, grunge, and twee-pop; Elin’s metal, hardcore, and post-rock – integrated into an end-product reflecting dream-pop, noise rock, and shoegaze elements.
When they turned 15, they formed a four-piece band, with Elin on vocals and guitar, and Cordelia on drums. While writing songs together, they realized unique musical chemistry. Eventually, the band broke up. Later, somehow, they both landed in Malmö, where they reconnected and recorded two lo-fi songs in Cordelia’s apartment, followed by recording a demo.
Deciding they needed a bass player, Cordelia sent a copy of the demo to a fellow university student, Felix Sjöström, who soon became an essential part of the venture, adding a singular dimension to their sound. For a year, they wrote songs, rehearsed, and performed at local venues. After opening for Nothing, they took the next step and released a single, “I Shouldn’t Care.”
Their sound, heavy with bass and guitars, is accompanied by lyrics echoing Cordelia’s crush on unknown genre films.
Explaining the personality of their sound, Spunsugar says, “We call ourselves an alternative rock band with shoegaze influences. Sound-wise, imagine if Alternative Nation on MTV 1997 and a drum machine fall into a cotton candy machine. The cotton candy wheel breaks and derails. We grew up farmer offsprings, bible-belt kids of fundamentalists, and trailer trash in small towns of Sweden. These are our references, and this shapes our sound.”
Encompassing 11-tracks, the album begins with “Jawbreaker,” featuring thick washes of gleaming, fuzzy guitars enveloped by a potent bassline. Elin’s dreamy voice, ethereal yet intoxicating, infuses the lyrics with delicious, tantalizing textures.
Entry points include “Where You Run Through,” opening on a stuttering drum shuffle flowing into a driving shoegaze melody projecting a tasty blurry wall-of-sound topped by Elin’s redolent tones, platinum and evocative.
“Run” features a vibrant running bassline attended by misty, shimmering guitars. Vaguely reminiscent of Kings of Leon in its impetus, Elin’s plush voice dispels any further comparison, imbuing the lyrics with velvety wistful surfaces.
The throbbing, extended bassline on “Native Tongue” gives the tune dual, swollen layers as the iridescent guitars add polished accents. “I Shouldn’t Care” demonstrates Spunsugar’s inimitable sonic impetus, offering bleary rinses of surging colors, rising and falling with wicked allure. The final track, “Wishes,” dishes out darker tints riding a hefty galloping rhythm, while granular guitar savors inject the harmonics with hypnotic sway.
Spunsugar has it going on! Drive-Through Chapel furnishes coagulated layers of luscious, glazed shoegaze gilded with subtle suffusions.