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article imageAlbum Review: Sulk - 'Graceless'

By Tom Head     Apr 18, 2013 in Entertainment
Sweet, hazy nostalgia; leaving the present for a perfect past. Everyone yearns for it, and brooding Leeds five-piece Sulk evoke memories of the 90s, with their début album 'Graceless'...
Though their endearing, familiar sound - akin the Stone Roses - is a throwback to a time of Umbro jumpers and flat mitre footballs on muddy pitches, what Sulk have produced with this album is something truly unique.
Each song is enriched with its own deep individuality - whether it's the insatiable hooks in 'Flowers' and 'Diamonds in Ashes', tunes that really flaunt the band's capacity for an instant classic, or the euphorically defiant 'Back in Bloom', all 10 tracks assert what they are about, with subtle variations hidden amongst infectious melodies
'The Big Blue' deliberately plods along, in all it's foot-stomping glory, before gathering pace and culminating in a triumphant union of fizzing symbols and an enchanting riff. Like many tracks on this record, the refusal to let a song die a slow, inevitable death is a breath of fresh air from many of today's album tracks, and enforces that spirit of defiance just a tantalising bit more.
Track five, 'Marian Shrine', exposes a heavy baseline for the dénouement of the verse, ably supporting the echoing tones of Jon Sutcliffe. Similar to the opening song 'Sleeping Beauty', a soothing calm precedes a storm of whirling sound, that spirals to a climax.
'Down' is very reflective of its title, adopting a more melancholic sound, and certainly heralds a shift in mood from the track before it, 'Wishes' - a dreamy affair that affirms a certain reassurance with it's casually upbeat approach... Both share a similar tempo, and a relatively apathetic pace that oozes nonchalance, that makes them the ideal candidates to punctuate the space between the more emotionally stirring tracks 'Back in Bloom' and 'If You Wonder'
The final track 'End Time' harbours all the weight one comes to demand from the last song on an album. Marauding, relentless guitars actively clash with booming drums, and Sutcliffe's vocals are once again on point, bellowing like a man who his knows time is almost up: It really is the epic, truly fitting conclusion to an album that defies Sulk's status as a band 'under the radar'
Seeing as I have used more adjectives than a well-written thesaurus, I must digress. Sulk have given us 40 minutes of musical heaven (let's not get into 'indie', 'shoe-gaze' etc... Great music is great music), and as it powers through from start to finish, I can't help but feel I should be trying to get a tan in a beer garden, talking with long-lost friends about our glory days.
'Graceless' is emphatic, sweeping and balls-out brilliant (Where's that thesaurus gone?) More importantly, it's out now. You know what you have to do.
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