Music is a forever evolving animal. You can choose to evolve with it, or continue to live int he past. Black Sugar Transmission chooses to live in the former and “In The City’s Arms” just proves this to be true, and true again. It is pop for those who like pop, rock for those who like rock and experimental for those who drink a lot of coffee and are slightly erratic.
How do you feel about monotony? Oh, you love it? Then this album is not for you. Go enjoy watching Groundhog’s Day for the 312th time. If you love to keep things fresh, then please read on. “In The City’s Arms” is the newest album by Black Sugar Transmission. If you are a veteran of Royal Flush Magazine then you already know we are huge fans of Black Sugar Transmission.
Let me correct myself real fast, this isn’t the newest album. “In The City’s Arms” is actually a double album. 24 Epic tracks that will take you on a journey. Part of this journey will feel comfortable and serene, while other parts will be dark, dingy and a bit manic.
The album’s leading track, “Machinegun Sun” is not what you would expect to be the first track. It is am aggro, almost visceral attack on your soul. The dark, uptempo beat get the adrenaline flowing right off the bat. This track could be featured on an homage to Ministry…if there was such a thing. There should be such a thing. Next time you need a pick me up to get your through your mid-day lull, crank “Machinegun Sun” and I’m certain it’ll be a lot better tasting than that Redbull you were about to down.
“California Time” which is the following track does the exact opposite. The song features a haunting, down-tempo sound with the inclusion of some beautiful brass horns. The softer, more melodic sound brings you back off that adrenaline dump you were experiencing previously. The combination of “Machinegun Sun” and “California Time” are a great example of what you can expect from “In The City’s Arms.” The double album is going to pull you in several directions, much like a Stretch Armstrong (I’m really dating myself here).
There are several occasions where Andee channels the creative spirit of several other artists. As I mentioned earlier, Andee channels a little Uncle Al in “Machinegun Sun” but that’s not it. I don’t want to spoil the album for you, but one of my favorite tracks is very reminiscent of the late and great Prince. Alright, I’ll spoil it, check out “Nina Simone.” I am a huge fan of this track. It is a huge throwback to the last Black Sugar Transmission album, “Violent Muses.”
While we’re discussing inspirational artists, check out “Every Blessing.” This song is essentially a time machine to the 80’s where you will feel like you are rocking out to Gary Numan. Gary Numan with a Black Sugar Transmission twist of course. Heavy guitars are a prominent feature on this track. What’re your feeling on the Beach Boys? How about the Beach Boys from the future? Yeah, there is some of that here. While it may at some point be featured as the opening song of a sitcom, “Unknown > Familiar” is a fun track. No other way to put it.
While I’d love to discuss influences for each and every track, I want you to form your own opinions on this journey. Every track is incredibly unique, as Andee is himself. The last track I’m going to mention is “Swipe Right.” It’s incredibly terrifying and is sadly a great representation of the state of today. You could make the argument this is the song of the current generation and that kinda bums me out. Great song, though, hits you right in the feels.
“In The City’s Arms” has actually been available for a few weeks now so I apologize for the delay. I didn’t want to throw a review together just for the sake of getting content posted. I needed to take my time with this album. 24 tracks is a lot to digest, and I wouldn’t change anything about it. This album is an exciting, musical journey from one side of the spectrum to the other. It remains exciting throughout its entirety. Don’t believe me? No problem. Check out each and every song on the Black Sugar Transmission website. I have yet to lead you astray, so trust me when I say that this will be one of the best albums of 2016.