Sukilove - Natural Regression EP

Bill Cummings 02/05/2008

Rating: 3.5/5

What's your knowledge of Belgian music like? No, I was struggling too, but learning about an ever shifting band like Sukilove is like dipping one's toe into this scene. Sukilove is the long time project of Pascal Deweze, a Belgian songwriter who has released various albums under the Sukilove moniker. Featuring a range of musicians, the current line up includes drummer Stoffel Verlack a former member of Flowers For Breakfast and Sjoerd Buil who also plays guitar for Millionaire and Black Cassette.

Their new EP "Natural Regression" is four tracks long, opened by the wonderful "You Kill Me," hovering into view with the kind of percussive melodious sighing that reminds me briefly of the intro to The Breeders classic "Cannonball," before ushering in a keening mid tempo slice of summer that brings to mind the skewed work of Deus (little wonder given Sukilove's work with Deus guitarist Mauro Pawlowski). Deweze's vocals are clawing at first before melting like cold butter on hot crumpets, these tones rising into cracked, lovelorn frustration in the last repeated chorus....

"Beauty Is Here" is an intricate slice of pyschedelia that revels in its subtle instrumentation and down beat Lennon-esque end-of-the-night vocals, reminiscent of Wilco or the slower work of the Shins. The highlight for me is the sighing "ahs" that pop their head above the parapet around a minute and a half in; there's an effortless charm at work here. “Headfire,” meanwhile, is slightly disappointing. In this context, the repeated refrains and winding guitar notes don't seem to amount to very much. Maybe there's a lack of recognisable shift in pace here? Finally comes a live version of "Pretty Kitty," with thudding bass and skewed twangy vocals matched up to the absurdist cut up imagery, it's perhaps surprisingly comparable to buffed up Nirvana. There's a whimsy at work in the chorus ("Come here/ you so/very/ pretty/pretty kitty") that weaves its way into your brain and it's frankly marvellous stuff.

Sukilove are a band who seeks to attempt different styles in a live setting. Perhaps the only criticism you could make of their sound is that it's perhaps a little too polished, but it takes a lot of skill and craft to make guitar pop sound so good.