Calling All the Youth
(Bread and Butter)
Big Sugar’s been back for a bit, but this one solidifies the Toronto band as maybe being better than it ever was. Is it because singer/guitarist Gordie Johnson spent the off years making noise with Wide Mouth Mason and Grady, or is it because he’s got just as much to say in 2015 as 1995? Opening with the menacingly groovy “Natty Dread Rock,” Calling All the Youth delivers that mix of feedback laced blues and dub that Big Sugar is known for. “Universal Vampire” emits coolness to spare, while “Heavy Manners” is pining for something bigger than itself (but never disappoints, with heavy bass and a cool riff guaranteed to break your heart). The disc (especially “Just Can’t Leave You”) has a real basement jam feel, while still delivering the slickness that Big Sugar has delivered on all of its 15ish releases over 25 years. The album winds down with “Ratio and Threshold,” a cool call and response jam you can’t help but get nostalgic over seconds after it ends. Youth does that great thing all Big Sugar records do; it gets you more into Big Sugar, while also getting you more into the group’s influences.