Crawling from the Cumbrian sludge, Sugarspun have blossomed from an acoustic duo to a fully-fledged band in their ascendance. One of their first studio-recorded tracks, “Spaceman Dreams”, is a gaudily optimistic, rather self-consciously anthemic opening salvo, setting out Sugarspun’s stand in the shadow of earlier indie giants. The sound here is decidedly retro, bordering on kitschy—a splaying jangle-pop chord here, a Noel-aping guitar solo there, maybe a squalling psychedelic outro to close things out.
The lyrics similarly could be transposed squarely onto salt-of-the-earth Britpop idealism: “Stuck in a job with bills to pay/Wish I could pack my things and say I’ll be on my way”. The breakdown drably implores the listener to “Never stop dreaming, never stop believing”, but to fault the track for its dearth of originality belies the similar retro stylings of many of its influences. Though far from a bellwether of that broad umbrella term, “indie”, Sugarspun perhaps are at least reflective of the path taken by one of the numerous strains of the genre: swaggering, festival lad-rock, bent on the sing-along; the bucket-hat; the flare held aloft. As a band, they resemble Robbie Williams fronting the La’s, but it’s simply not enough these days to simply write a few breezy guitar rock tracks and expect placement on the festival stages these songs so clearly crave. The musical landscape is far broader, more diverse and more competitive, and so stringently adhering to a rapidly dating musical template may well be unwise. Regardless, good luck to them. CO