Sugarbush is building an enviable reputation for giving a second life to minor power pop classics by offering them up in pristine heavyweight coloured vinyl. So we have had the first two Pugwash albums (especially the second Almanac which sounds like the best album Oasis never made), the wonderful second 8×8 album (a Beach Boys/Beatles mash up which is totally essential) and now this from Detroit’s Hangabouts.
Illustrated Bird originally arrived back in 2014 to generally very positive reviews. But I have sneaky feeling that the vinyl version will be the making of it.
This is power pop, but not the late 70s crashing guitar variety. The Hangabouts write subtle intelligent Beatley tunes, and in their melodicism and their down to earth lyrics they recall the brilliant Fountains of Wayne.
Opener Roman Forum is a gentle Big Star-esque called which is followed by the full McCartney (or maybe ELO or The Divine Comedy) of November.
Pretty much every track is a minor gem. From the bitter strum-along along of She Hates You (think FOW again) through to unorthodox chord and time changes of Missing In Action.
My favorite could well be the album’s finale, Go To Sleep, a gentle lullaby embellished by some alluring Mellotron-esque keyboards. Though the title track, which channels Eliot Smith pushes it close.
So if you are missing the FOW and have spun Chris Collingwood’s solo Look Park album to death then this should be next on your wants list.
Buy it here