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Shane’s Music Challenge: ROCK SUGAR – 2010 – Re-Imaginator

| 20 March 2014 | Reply

Shane’s Music Challenge: ROCK SUGAR – 2010 – Re-Imaginator

Rock Sugar - Reimaginator cover

Rock Sugar’s Re-Imaginator (their only release to date) is one that continues to polarise fans.

“Each and very note sung and played on this album,” the cover declares in bold lettering, “was sung and played by Rock Sugar.” Which means, of course, NO SAMPLES.

Each and every track, however, very cleverly mashes up hard n’ heavy rock songs with softer pop/rock tunes – and the end result is often hilarious, often surprising, but always exciting, and fun – not to mention played to perfection by the band.

Opener Don’t Stop The Sandman meshes Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing with Metallica’s Enter Sandman, We Will Kickstart Your Rhapsody welds Bohemian Rhapsody and We Will Rock You from Queen onto Motley Crue’s Kickstart My Heart, and so on.

Purists hate it, but I suggest you give it a chance – partly for the fun of it, partly because it’s so well done, and partly because – no matter what anyone says – it fuckin’ rocks, man!

And just to reinforce all that, here’s the review I wrote when the album first came out:

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Rock Sugar’s debut album is a covers album – even though you’ll hear a lot of familiar songs here, you’ve never heard them quite like this!

This is – as the title suggests – a re-imagining of some of the best classic rock anthems from the past thirty years. Lyrics and riffs we know so well follow different paths and are mashed up together to sometimes startling effect – try ‘Crazy Girl’, a clever melange of Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Crazy Train’ and Rick Springfield’s ‘Jessies Girl’, or ‘I Love Sugar On Me’, which deftly stirs up Joan Jett’s ‘I Love Rock n’ Roll’ and Def Leppard’s ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’.

It takes a few listens to overcome the weird feeling when a lyric we’ve known for 20 years is suddenly sung over a completely different song, or when the operatic intro to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ segues into Motley Crue’s ‘Kickstart my heart’ riff, and once you’ve tackled your own preconceptions then this is a great album and a helluva lot of fun!

And F-U-N fun is the keyword here. Not willingly comic in the Steel Panther style, nor as tongue in cheek as The Darkness, “Re-imaginator” is simply a great FUN record which is guaranteed to get you bopping around the room and singing along to the soft rock cheesy anthems (which we all secretly boast as guilty pleasures) as much as the hard rock classics.

The Rock Sugar project is run by the lads from Loud & Clear, and their byline is “Because pop rocks!”. So you’ll marvel as hard and heavy rock songs collide with pop metal – or, in some cases, pop songs – and become something new. You’ll find it near-impossible to sit still as Rock Sugar seamlessly mash-up ‘I’m not in love’ by 10CC and Judas Priest’s ‘Breakin The Law’ or Bon Jovi’s ‘Living on a Prayer’ with ‘Working For The Weekend’ by Canada’s pastel sweatband toting Loverboy.

Their website has a jokey backstory which spells out the premise behind the music herein: They spent their first 20 years worshipping heavy metal, and their next 20 on a desert island listening to only 80’s pop rock. This little backstory descends into silliness for my taste, but the premise does sum up their modus operandi rather well.

Rock Sugar have – desert island or not – stumbled onto a genuinely exciting formula which is basically to approach the songs they grew up with as a DJ would, mixing different elements together to create something brand new. The fact that these guys can play so well and do so live keeps the whole game honest and firmly planted in the rock camp rather than descending into pop shallowness or mockery.

“Re-imaginator” is a sugar coated serve of pop-rock candy which should appeal to hard rockers, 80’s revivalists, and even casual retro rock radio listeners. I already have turned several non-hard-rockers onto it, and with the right marketing push behind them, this album could be immense!

Category: Shane's Rock Challenge

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