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taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

reviews of the moment

Sugar GlyderLovers at Lightspeed

In their second EP and fourth overall official release, Sugar Glyder have breathed new life into the grandiose, hopelessly optimistic indie-pop sounds of the last decade simply by scrapping the formula. On Lovers at Lightspeed, they explore a new palette of sounds on each and every song, with all six tracks possessing a richly disparate persona. Opener “Song Holiday” and “Ocean, I Love You” both borrow from heavily from the general aesthetic of “Sweetness”-era Jimmy Eat World, but there’s much more to them than simply reliance upon the dynamic of soaring vocals, trilling guitars and heavily regimented drum. They seamlessly interweave soft and heavy progressions around memorable choruses and catchy hooks like the chorale on “Deep Into Summer.” Other times, they’re crafting dark and provocative instrumental tracks, like Emily Aoyogi’s submersive bass grooves on “8” and toying with stark contrasts in tempos as on “The Work (and what may come).” Overall, Lovers at Lightspeed is big and bold, and for an appetizer between albums, enough to keep their fans perfectly content.

78/100

Sugar Glyder will perform at the Blind Tiger on Thursday night.

Trio SlayeTake the Slaye Train

As young jazz-improv units rush to redefine the boundaries of the genre, sometimes it’s refreshing to hear new compositions that embrace the tried and true values that are so often questioned. On Trio Slaye’s new release Take the Slaye Train, the Manhattan-based trio of Chris Ziembra (piano), Dave Baron (bass) and Kevin McDonald (drums) revisit the fundamentals of the piano trio in a nine-song collection of originals and select covers. Ziembra’s work on opener “Jack’s Blues for John” displays some of the album’s most aggressive playing, while he finds himself taking on slower, more emotive tempos on “Future Certainty.” It’s primarily his show on some of the reworked pieces, as his solo phrasing on the first half of Billy Strayhorn’s “Take the A-Train” recalls Bill Evans on Alone. Likewise, the trio excels most in empty space. Baron’s “Dutchess of Weirdville” begins with a strictly measured use of notes and fills in so gradually you almost don’t notice until the sound begins dropping back out towards the end. The rhythm section are at their best on Baron’s “Senorita Bombita,” a spicy bit peppered by hints of Cubano and handclaps.

74/100

Trio Slaye will perform at Christ United Methodist Church on Friday.

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