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Customer Reviews

Phenomenal

Fans of the Sugarplastic have long treasured the band as the quintessential diamond in the rough. Since the 1995 release of Radio Jejune, the trio (now quartet) has routinely delivered the musical goods. Ben Eshbach's remarkable dexterity, both as vocalist and guitarist, prove a reliable delight. Perennial foil Kiara Geller's distinctively melodic bass falls in clean lockstep with the group's characteristically clocklike, intricate arrangements. And lyrically, the Sugarplastic is arguably unmatched among its pop peers. Over the years, the band has flirted with a low-lit fame. Geffen Records released 1996's Bang, the Earth is Round. In 2000, "Don't Look Down" was included on the Power Puff Girls soundtrack. Most recently, the LA Weekly feted the group with the Best Pop/Rock Band award. The latter resulted largely from the release of Will, an album-length paean to Eshbach's best friend, Will Glenn (Mazzy Star, Rain Parade), who succumbed to cancer in March 2001. It is fair to say that, even among its most stalwart enthusiasts, few could have foreseen the band's scaling the heights of Will. Eshbach's trenchant wit, dazzling chops, and unfailing melodic genius are, as ever, on full display. Will, however, finds him far surpassing prior efforts. The above are woven into a warmly gorgeous instrumental tapestry. Sparse guitar and percussion adorn a masterful bed of Enoesque synth on "The Bodice of a Young French Girl" and "My Heart Lately." The quirkily endearing "What the Boy Said" and "Underwater" glisten and glint their way to charming, bell-embellished altitudes of melodic ecstasy. Through it all, Eshbach's voice rings angelic and sober, tempering wit with wisdom and disclosing an enviable emotive range. Released by the small LA-based indie Tall Boy Records, Will's immediate impact on the broader music scene will doubtless be slight. Equally sure, however, is the record's inevitable endpoint: Will is the future classic par excellence, destined to expand the ranks of the Sugarplastic's long-time loyalists well beyond their present bounds. For the time being, count yourself lucky to have gotten in on the ground floor.

Pretty good, not as amazing as I hoped

This is an open letter to Ben Eshbach & the rest of the Sugarplastic in regards to their recently released album Will. Dear Ben, I recently purchased a copy of your latest album. It is about time this came out, it feels like I've been waiting for a year or so for it. Once again, the Sugarplastic shows it's aptitude for making classy pop music. As usual, it's in the vein of late 80's early 90's XTC, but as always with a lot more energy. You've always been an interesting band even if you are a bit underrated. Of course, this never seemed to bother you or any of your fans. Kiara Geller once again helps you deftly realize the musical ideas you've had. As always, with his bass guitar playing, he never gives more than what's needed. The same can be said for drummer, David Cunningham. They take a back seat to your guitar playing and singing and add a lot in with a less is more approach. Because of this perfect balance, Will is another album peppered with great songs. Ben, you are a very talented musician. You make great laid-back, fun pop music. It's the kind of music that reminds this listener of lying in a grassy knoll during a cool summer day. It's a very sweet feeling. Heck, you even made me jump up and do a little dance to a song about the Lord. "Jesus is His Name" is a great song. Everything about it is perfect. Perfect, except for that I cannot always clearly hear you. Ben, why do you hate your voice so much? You have a very nice voice! I have no idea why you choose to bury it in vocal effects on the first two songs. It wouldn't be so bad if these songs didn't add up to nearly the first nine minutes of the album. I'll admit that it made hearing your voice unaffected on track three seem even better, but it's not that bad to begin with. It's an audio trick that you didn't need to pull, as your voice is fine. My friend, you didn't need to give us two tracks of substandard vocal audio so when we hear your real voice it'll sound like an angel, only if it's because of the clarity. You even go back to putting small effects on your voice later in the album as well. It's not always necessary. I'm not sure if I can recommend Will to anyone who hasn't heard the Sugarplastic before. This is a bit of a shame, as I know the trouble in tracking down older Sugarplastic albums. Will just doesn't have that energetic drive that Bang, the Earth is Round, and Radio Jejune does. To me Will is going to do fine with the Sugarplastic faithful but it probably won't catch on outside of our clubhouse. I guess that may be part of the point, as I understand it is a concept album written in honor of your friend William Cooper Glenn. In this respect, it's understandable that Will is a personal record for you. Because of this, it seems that you only want to share it with the folks that "get" you. This is too bad, but I, as a long time fan, still like the album, anyway. Yours truly, Rad Jose

Biography

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Los Angeles-based power-popsters the Sugarplastic comprised singer/guitarist Ben Eshbach, bassist Kiara Geller and drummer Josh Laner; formed in early 1990, the trio spent over a year and a half rehearsing at a local appliance store owned by Laner's father before finally making their public debut, next recording a handful of tracks for release on their 1993 three-single box-set debut Ottawa Bonesaw. The first full-length Sugarplastic effort,...
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Will, The Sugarplastic
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