SONG PREMIERE: On “Moon Rock,” Mike Clark and the Sugar Sounds’ Drop Sonic Curveball

Mike Clark and the Sugar Sounds’ first single “Warm Me Up” from their forthcoming LP Moon Rock  (due for release on March 11th) dropped on February 14th and for good reason: the sweet, little Soul number fit the Valentine’s Day vibe just right. Now, the band’s second single, “Moon Rock ” has arrived. And just when you thought you had the band’s sound pegged, they throw you this curveball. “Moon Rock”, the title track for the new album, is way harder to pin down to a specific genre – it is an auditory amalgam of ingredients and hauntingly ambiguous. The feel of this one hits on late 60’s/early 70’s psychedelic Rock more than anything this band has ever produced. It’s a love song but not that kind of love song. This is about the love you feel for someone viscerally but know that you’re headed down a destructive path no matter how good it feels. Though red hot and passionate, somehow you know that no goodwill ultimately comes of it but it seems impossible to stop. 

The first thing we hear is Robin Chestnut’s pounding drums that lay the foundation for a combination sound bomb that bursts wide open from a guitar feedback fuse. Suddenly, Ben Gallagher’s organ playing and Mike Clark’s bass guitar explode over the drums and the trio goes forth into a dark and almost sinister sound, punctuated with some incisive synthesizer, that foreshadows the weight and glorious filthiness of the rest of the song. Not enough can be said for Gallagher’s organ playing, it is the star of this particular show and will prove to be an MVP for the rest of the upcoming record as well. The organ flourishes twists and slices as the bass and drums march steadily, inexorably forward The reverb is laid on thick and adds to the track’s expansive moodiness. Clark’s vocals are soaked in that reverb too, so much so that his voice is more an instrument than a conveyance of lyrics in this one.

If you must draw comparisons, “Moon Rock” probably sounds more akin to The Band’s “Chest Fever”  and grittier Soul work by The Chambers Brothers than the softer Soul songs for which the Sugar Sounds are generally known. This departure showcases the brilliant overall versatility of the band and the record as a whole. While the rest of the record takes a turn toward the funk and soul sounds of the early ’70s, “Moon Rock” is a psych-rock standout that starts the album off with a crushing gut punch. 

“Moon Rock” is available today on all of your streaming outlets. The band’s full record will be released on March 11th and we cannot wait to take a deep dive into it and discuss all the incredible things we hear in what could already be one of our favorite albums of 2022.

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