Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Bands like The Bloodsugars are blatant, so damned blatant and they nab you without a second's loss. They just get you and throw you into their duffel bag, like a cartoon hunter slyly sneaking up behind a snacking bunny rabbit, reaching down and applying a vice-like grip to the ears, doing the same thing - taking the jumpy creature home for a rude finale and a hearty soup. It's bands like this, which lay the bait down thick, like a spread of creamy and chunky peanut butter on the evil end of a mousetrap. With a taste for the stuff, what are you to do but to bend close and then nibble, just to be a helpless, captured thing, kicking aimlessly, albeit furiously. The connotation here should not be taken as one of grueling attempts at survival, but there should be an emphasis placed on the way a band such as this one can trap you with what it's offering you - that carrot, that peanut butter or a soft, white pile of sugar. In name alone, this New York band hides nothing, naming itself after something everyone needs - sugar in his or her blood. This is crucial to all living things and it's militantly regulated by those with certain diseases It's do or die, this level of the sweet stuff and The Bloodsugars, as a music-making outfit that proffers it with every strum, note and thump. It's all necessary and gratuitous at the same time - essentially, just giving us nothing to want for. The hooks are effortless and large, dynamic and perfectly aged. The songs on "I Can't Go On, I'll Go On," show us that every hook has not already been taken, that there are plenty still out there, swaying from the branches, ready to be plucked by any hands that come by and know what to do with them. Singer and songwriter Jason Rabinowitz, at times, comes off sounding like Mac McCaughan of Superchunk, and that's a great thing. He melds that voice with more of a Lovin' Spoonful/Turtles feeling in the arrangements and melodies, creating a sound that's easy to be smitten with. It's a sound that's explicit and it demands immediate fawning as Rabinowitz sings of the turbulent ways of suburbia. It feels as if it's an homage to years many decades gone, but fondly remembered - the itchy letter jackets, the Friday nights packed with endless possibility, and well, just endless possibility. It harkens back to days that could be unfairly characterized as carefree, but in retrospect were absolutely, without question carefree. "Light At The End Of The Tunnel" is a sojourn into these skies that alternate between cloudiness and clearing, cutting to the quick that nothing's ever as easy as it should be. There's a bounce to this sort of knowledge that goes far in making the realization not so heavy or vexing, or, worse yet - insurmountable. The very first lines out of Rabinowitz's mouth are, "Your set up with badness more than you're faced with good/If I knew where you lived, I'd move to your neighborhood/But the decision is done/ You can't be another playful one and never will fly/But there's just enough light to bounce a small reflection off the dark in my eye." We're faced with a dreary situation, but one that's not all ruined, as per the bit about the dark in an eye providing just the right surface to kick some light off of it. In other songs, the band touches on the stings that time has enacted on places they've once known and once felt an affinity for and now they're seeing them in a different light, tarnished a bit. It's as if there are countless things in their lives that they'd seen thrive and now, those same places are run-down, used-a-beens - like an amusement park or movie theater where one used to spend all of their time, revisited to find the paint peeling and weeds jutting through the asphalt surface, a pillar of youth, now washed up. The Bloodsugars take us to these once beautiful thoughts and places and show us that nothing lasts in the same way, but that doesn't mean that the memories have to feel or sound trampled. We're still taken by they, maybe just a little disappointed that it all turned out this way.