Sulk release their new album on CD and vinyl LP through Perfect Sound Forever. No Illusions is the band’s second full-length and they have refined their 1990s influenced indie-pop sound into something sharper and more varied. The group are influenced by British rock, shoegaze and psych-pop, but they never get bogged down in nostalgia.
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- No Illusions by Sulk
4/10 Hayley Staff review, 14 April 2016
Usually I don’t have an issue with bands being derivative – influence has to come from somewhere, and it’s rare that a band can create something truly ‘new’. All-male band Sulk, however, peddle a certain kind of indie psych for the masses that’s just terribly dull for the most part. You may have noticed that I felt it necessary to write “all-male” above, that’s because if they were a female band of the same ilk they’d be forever referred to as all-female. Just doing my bit for equality.
What at first sounded like Chapterhouse soon descended into the usual unimaginative indie band formula of chorus bridge chorus (insert needless instrumental here) chorus, and it’s mind-numbingly average. While a lot of bands - ones of the indie pop persuasion in particular - are guilty of doing the same, it does have a tendency to work if there’s something else on offer, or if there’s a particular knack for melody, but much of this album is stale and contrived.
The vocals also have an irritating, swaggering quality– often recalling the likes of The Stone Roses and Oasis - which, in 2016, sounds markedly dated. Musically, it latches onto the shoegaze tag, but it sounds a bit too clean for any ephemeral, wall of sound likenesses. Similarly, it’s about as psych as a Cliff Richard album, though the potential would be there if they didn’t try so hard and went for something less polished and more authentic.
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