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Sugarbush

Anyone who has seen an outrageously fun live show by Tucson locals Sugarbush can attest to their on-stage greatness, but the question is: Can it be captured on record? The answer, via their new CD, Melodious Snorts: Absolutely!

Sugarbush cook up a supremely nifty stew of slightly deranged punk funk that is wholly their own, but not without references. Their blend of punk energy and funk chops brings to mind 1970s downtown New York bands like Bush Tetras and The Contortions. The intertwining voices, dance-floor-ready workouts and overall loopy sense of fun evoke the B-52s.

Twins Dawn and Kee front the band, and their on-stage barrage of pumping keyboard, chopping guitar and octave-hopping vocals are a notable contrast to their off-stage reticence. Dawn and Kee's vocalizing may sound like autistic freestyling to some faint of hearts, but hey, try the mango salsa--you just might like it. Bassist/guitarist Ryen and drummer Dimitri--the hardest-working rhythm section in Tucson--nail every time change and shape-shifting rhythm that comes their way. The fearlessness with which the band throw themselves into drastically funky numbers like "Elephant 1" and "Shellac" is the musical equivalent of mixing espresso shots with tequila shots. "Chinchilla" is a priceless piece of musical psychosis, while "Chx. Wrap" bobs along on a Casio wave. For the capper, the faux dramatic "Dosty" sounds like Tucson goths stuffing the Velvet Underground handbook into a crack pipe and firing it up. Of special note is Nathan Sabatino's super-fine production at Loveland Studio.

Did I say fun yet?

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