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Dead Confederate: Sugar

When you follow an album named Wrecking Ball with one named Sugar, you might be setting folks up to expect a sophomore slump—or at least a little sweetening. Dead Confederate obliges neither of those expectations with its second full-length. Still, the Athens band has dribbled just a little dispersant into its sludgy songcraft; after the disc kicks off with the pulverizing “In The Dark,” the hoedown-with-Oasis ballad “Run From The Gun” shows a gentler side to Hardy Morris’ roughhewn riffs and snarled drawl. “Father Figure” starts as a low-level drone, but the song’s spooky, atmospheric buildup overflows in a satisfying cannonade of feedback. While there are still unabashed nods to Nirvana in the band’s sound—the skull-scraping “Semi-Thought” could almost pass as an In Utero outtake—the guest appearance of Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis on the lurching, anthemic “Giving It All Away” displays Dead Confederate’s true allegiance. Mascis’ harmony is hardly noticeable, but his characteristically bruising solo blends seamlessly into the song. In spite of the “grunge revivalist” tag that gets hung on Morris and crew, though, Sugar doesn’t have much of a retro feel; rather, it imagines a world in which My Morning Jacket and Band Of Horses woke up, got loose, cranked it up, and explored some of the darker, weirder corners of their world.


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