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Sugarcult - Palm Trees and Power Lines (Cover Artwork)

Sugarcult

Sugarcult: Palm Trees and Power LinesPalm Trees and Power Lines (2004)
Fearless Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: PHilPhil
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Sugarcult played around the Los Angeles area for a while, putting out independent releases before releasing their somewhat-major label debut, Start Static in the fall of 2001. The debut was a jangly, punchy, poppy collection of power pop (or pop-punk to some) songs with energetic riffs, sharp hooks.
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Sugarcult played around the Los Angeles area for a while, putting out independent releases before releasing their somewhat-major label debut, Start Static in the fall of 2001. The debut was a jangly, punchy, poppy collection of power pop (or pop-punk to some) songs with energetic riffs, sharp hooks and youthful energy. The band than toured, toured and toured with the likes of Less Than Jake, Unwritten Law, Mest as well as doing some of their own shows. They grew to have a reputation of partying hard (yep, they do what they like and like what they do). In fact, the drummer was ousted from the band because of unspecified substance abuse problems. Still, the band went on, gaining more and more fans in each city they visited and the CD went on to sell 300,000 copies.

Now, in 2004, Sugarcult returns with Palm Trees and Power Lines. You can tell that singer/guitarist/songwriter Tim Pagnotta has been feeling the sting of the road and the ride that Sugarcult has had over the past 2-3 years. Gone is the sunny power-pop vibe that made Start Static such a fun listen to. The songs are more dense, serious and are often slower. However, that doesn't mean the disc is lacking. Tracks like "She's The Blade" and the excellent first single "Memory" recall some elements of Start Static but focus more on melody than cranking the amps to 11. Slower tunes like "Counting Stars" and "Back To California" show how Pagnotta has grown as a songwriter and that he is not afraid to show more than one side of himself. Some even rock harder than Start Static ("Destination Anywhere", "It's Over").

This is a reaction of the band after being on the road for a long time. They want to be taken seriously. They've learned from their mistakes. They've learned that they want to break away from the "pop-punk scene" (I hate that word, scene, but I couldn't think of a better one) and stand on their own feet.

Now, this isn't a perfect record. Some of the tracks don't quite click ("What You Say" sounds like a great to attempt to make a retro-sounding punk song but just sounds awkward). Nevertheless, this is a great album, great melodies, great hooks, tight band, etc. Maybe elitist punks won't like it, but who cares about them anyway? This is the sound of a band pushing themselves forward while ocassionally looking back and wondering if they took the right path.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
MelyssaK (October 24, 2011)

I totally could not get enough of this album. I would listen to it on my portable DVD player a lot at work. I worked at Wawa (convenience store located every 2-3 square miles in 5 northeast states) during the nightshift 11pm-7am. After the bar rush, there was not much to do besides stand at my register and play CD's, until the coffee rush at 5am.

Anonymous (August 1, 2005)

If any band in the world is in it just for the money, it's these guys. The music is pathetically simple.

Anonymous (May 25, 2005)

first of all, i am a lover of sugarcult....they are my favorite band.. now besides this point, i kinda like start static better, because the lyrics are catchier (i second the motion about nothing being able to beat "pretty girl")..however, the cd is most definetely not as bad as some of you say it is. i have heard much much much worse. sugarcult rocks, no matter what "category" of music they fall under...and for the record, my three fave songs on the cd are (in this order) memory, crying, and counting stars
must go!

Anonymous (October 26, 2004)

this band is worse than good charlotte and simple plan

Anonymous (October 2, 2004)

The lyrics are fucking shallow but he album over all is pretty good. If you don't take it too seriously....

Anonymous (August 12, 2004)

Amazing Cd that you can listen tooo over and over..=) love it

Anonymous (July 7, 2004)

I havent heard the album so i dont know why im commenting on this.. But basing it on the other peeplz comments.. I say that itz a good album.. You should listen to it.. And so do i... I want it.. Can someone give it to me for free.. Hehehe jkz... I like memory.. But i only heard the acoustic version so i think the punk version is much better... I want the other version.. Or their album.. Help me out.. I got no dosh... I comment on thingz when i havnt even listened to it.. So itz alright no one is complaining.. My advice.. Dont listen to it bcoz it sux realli bad.. Oh wait... Thatz britney spears album.. Yeh well dont listen to her album... Sugarcult's album iz much better than herz... Even though i hate britneyz songz... I still want to bang her!!! =d and bang ehr bad.. Maybe to the wall... Jkz

ihavechappedlips (June 12, 2004)

Great album. Great review. I expected some egotistic "punk" to review this but fortunately it was an open-minded person.
This album gets better with each listen.

ihavechappedlips (June 12, 2004)

Great album. Great review. I expected some egotistic "punk" to review this but fortunately it was an open-minded person.
This album gets better with each listen.

ihavechappedlips (June 12, 2004)

Great album. Great review. I expected some egotistic "punk" to review this but fortunately it was an open-minded person.
This album gets better with each listen.

Anonymous (May 5, 2004)

This is a good album with some really great song. I dont see why people come here to put negative comments, I mean do you seek out bands you hate and waste your time writing comments that fans of that band arent going to care about anyways? People need to stop focusing on the genre of the band and pay more attention to the MUSIC. Thats what really matters, even thought Sugarcult is labled as a POP-PUNK band ( i have to admit a pretty lame catagory) they do have meaningful songs. I think alot of people hate this band just because....well....right now its "cool" the hate pop punk bands. That PRETTY SAD. Open your mind up a bit peope!

Tasha

Anonymous (April 28, 2004)

Not as good as start static...but i still love them. again, who cares what kinda of music they are as long as you like it? is it just me or did they change their image??

Caroline (who will mary marko 72)

Anonymous (April 25, 2004)

this album sucks, its just as crappy as good charlotte, simple plan, and all those other punk boy bands that appeal to middle school girls and those alike. What a joke, try listening to bands that know how to play their instruments and not sound like a vagina.

element72986 (April 24, 2004)

This album is amazing. ive loved sugarcult the first time i heard them. i personally enjoy when they do their slow songs even though none on them compare to pretty girl. i heard it all and the best song is champagne.

Anonymous (April 22, 2004)

i love sugarcult.

Anonymous (April 21, 2004)

asdf d

Anonymous (April 21, 2004)

asdf d

Anonymous (April 21, 2004)

asdf

Anonymous (April 21, 2004)

Anonymous (April 21, 2004)

Anonymous (April 21, 2004)

Anonymous (April 21, 2004)

love sugarcult... this cd wasnt as good as start static but still pretty cool

Anonymous (April 21, 2004)

love it

Anonymous (April 21, 2004)

awesome

gutterhippo (April 20, 2004)

you know, at first this album was really disappointing, but the more I listen to it, the more I love it! If you want a taste of what the album is like, go to the sugarcult website and listen to 'she's the blade.' if you want to hear a song that (i think) is really representative of the album, download "worst december"

For those of you who dismissed the album as shitty, give it another listen. It'll grow on you

Anonymous (April 20, 2004)

haha i cant believe that all u dumba$$es are judging the album on the genre of music they are in! who really cares if its pop, or punk, as long as its good? And why the hell did someone give the album a bad rating because they thought it had a bad title!? that doesnt matter you moron! And just because they screwed up live doesnt mean that they suck over all ok? get it? Sugarcult frekin' rocks

Anonymous (April 19, 2004)

disapointed.

Anonymous (April 16, 2004)

I love the gamits

CrankWillDestroy (April 16, 2004)

Yea, I'll third that gamits comment. Can't wait for the new album.

Anonymous (April 16, 2004)

I bought it yesterday afternoon. It's ok. Like the guy below said, it's not really punk at all. Just solid power pop rock.

Anonymous (April 16, 2004)

Most people talking shit on this cd probably havent heard it. Its not really pop punk at all. Its got more of an Eve6 radio pop sound to it, with a punk edge here and there. Its pretty solid, I'd say its about as good as their last album in a different way, nothing great.

Anonymous (April 16, 2004)

Pretty awful -- and I liked Start Static.

Anonymous (April 16, 2004)

I love California... best place in the world!

Anonymous (April 15, 2004)

i'll second that gamits remark

Anonymous (April 15, 2004)

i have yet to hear a modern poppunk band that are as good as the gamits. they are an amzing band.

Anonymous (April 15, 2004)

This is somewhat of a letdown compared to Start Static, but it is definetly not as bad as you guys are making it seem.

If you're an elitist punk, don't buy this cd because you know you'll hate it no matter what it sounds like.

If you like pop punk, this is sorta borderline, it's a gamble.

If you like pop rock and have some money to burn, buy this cd.

If you're buying this cd hoping that the other songs sound as good as "memory", you might be disappointed.

If you like Sugarcult, you know you're going to buy this cd anyways...

*gutterhippo (likes sugarcult)

ElVaquero (April 15, 2004)

It's the return of Sara(no h)! Huzzah for all o de children!

Anonymous (April 15, 2004)

Mediocre at best...sounds like every other "pop-punk" band with the exception of about two songs.

Anonymous (April 15, 2004)

Had to endure this band a few times while they opened for other bands. Sucks

Sara (no h)

Anonymous (April 15, 2004)

Score is for the band, and the band live.

On Conan, they blew huge ass. I think they had to be the worst musical guests in the past five years. Usually when a band performs live on a show, they tend to play what they consider to be a "fan-favorite", or simply their best song from the album being promoted. If that was the best song from this record... I'd have to say that Hansen's "Middle Of Nowhere" is better than this lump of shit.

And they're drummer... worst drummer in existence. Not to mention how much of a dork he looks like (which I know, has nothing to do with how he plays), but it did add to it. He's a horrible drummer.

(hatred of Sugarcult is based off of Start Static... one of the worst albums of 2002).

Anonymous (April 15, 2004)

saw these guys on conan obrien the other night. LAME!(robot voice)

sincerelyme (April 15, 2004)

I don't often bother making negative comments about bands but this album is fucking terrible. Sure it sounds different to the first album (which isn't tricky considering it was one of the most bland pop punk records I've ever heard) but that doesn't make it good. It's dire, nothing about it is interesting. Bah, how can you have listened to any music at all and have the gall to say that this isn't shite?

Anonymous (April 15, 2004)

Not as catchy as Start Static, but they are still a catchy as hell, hook filled band. I like it. Although they themselves admit to not being punk...

devildog1507 (April 15, 2004)

This is another faceless band

Anonymous (April 15, 2004)

I liked Start Static better. But, this album has a few good songs. It doesn't have anything Van Wilder worthy though.

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

Goddamnit I wish I had some fuckin weed

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

the sad thing is as you look through your collection of bad religion and social distortion and nofx and descendents albums, and you're wearing your volcom t-shirt, you're thinking "god damn i hate living in fucking kansas

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

california is mad overrated. People drive SUV's with no need, image is everything and you can't smoke anywhere. People from cali also think they are gods gift yet their state can't figure shit out, like the energy crisis.

i'm not sayin it totally sux, but it is not the be all end all that people make it out to be. I lived in san diego for a year. fun but i found alot of things about it to be annoying ie. competition and image hungry culture, super high prices for everything
although its better than pittsburgh, whichis where i live. boo.

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

This band is so unpunk that they are actually punk

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

Great review, even if the rating is a bit high.

CactusSac (April 14, 2004)

thinking sugarcult is a fucking horrible band doesn't make you an elitest...

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

To the guy with the California statement. Go listen to Local H's new song California Songs. The whole song is about what you just said.

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

to the guy below: California is a unique and and amazing place to go. There's no where else in the world like it. I'm in a hardcore band right now, and we're writing a song about California cause going back there means a lot to us. It's not a generic thing to sell records because almost everyone writes songs about California. Right now I'm listening to Jimmy Rankin's new single called California Dreamer. Every genre of music has hundreds of songs about that state.

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

"Counting Stars" and "Back To California": Yeah you can tell these guys have been hardened by the road, look at these pissed of song titles. By pissed off I mean tired and cliche. Note to generic bands: stop talking about stars and california. On a side note why is the music world obsessed with writing songs that mention california? I think its a ploy to sell records to colifornia's residents, it makes them think the rest of the country shares their opinion that their state is not just a breeding ground for the trendy and the scum of our country.
Fuck this band and the trucker hats they rode in on.
randondipshit

Eddie (April 14, 2004)

I liked the first album. And I'll buy this album.

Sway (April 14, 2004)

RaNcId PuNx

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

I like this band. I enjoyed Start Static. Haven't heard this record yet other than the single, but I'm sure it's not half as bad as you guys are making it out to be.

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

I guess this band isnt punk enough for you guys, one day ill have enough money and ill buy a jacket and load it up with studs and only listen to bands you say I can. Thats punk? ok

RaNcId PuNx

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

My review is a review for freedom!

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

they sucked on conan last night.

-Forrest Law

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

Nothings perfect, but its good to see these guys change from thier previous albums. Both were different, and now this one is much more mature than the younger two. Worst December is a great song, with a different taste from before, while she's the blade is a song that could've definately fitted well on Start Static. Sign off is a great slow song that end's their album. Still, over and memory are two songs that show how these guys really feel about things, and of their experiances. This band's cds are great, but its the excitement and great live shows that keeps me comming back to see them everytime that they are in town (and because they are just all sweet guys).

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

I like it, but sometimes it falls flat (destination anywhere). Other times its sick (memory, worst december, back to california). I wouldnt really even call this pop punk. Its just poppy radio rock but done well. It soundslike the soundtrack to one of those WB shows. Its cool, chicks will sure dig it and it shows growth from their debut. But thats about it, nothing real memorable, but nothing real offensive to it like simple plan or anything.

In short, I don't see how anyone can hate this cd or love it.

As for semi major label, they are on fearless and artemis or sometnhing. don't ask.

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

"Awesome true story:
These guys were opening for Reel Big Fish, and I took a girl I had just started dating to the show. While there, I was talking to my ex-gf (best friend) and the current girl got mad and left for a bit. Turns out she was telling the singer of Sugarcult what an asshole I was, and he wrote her a poem about what a bastard I was. It was a really bad poem.
Needless to say, I can actually say I dislike the people in this band and their music for a (fairly) good reason."

Funny, and reasonable.

Sway (April 14, 2004)

I'll admit there are some really catchy numbers on here. However, I don't know that I can handle giving this 4 stars. That's nearing perfection. And to be honest, I'll feel a little bit wrong about something like this being regarded as perfection.

Definitely some good tracks though. I particularly enjoy "Back To California".

TheOneTrueBill (April 14, 2004)

what's the deal with "semi-major label"

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

Pure sugar, cunt!

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

not bad....Memory is a sick ass song..everything else is kinda generic

Anonymous (April 14, 2004)

Another joke of a band...

-c22

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

First Ben Keller gets a perfect rating for a perfectly mediocre album and now this album gets a near perfect rating while being reffered to as "great." Seriously, I know reviews are subjective, but common be a little more critical.

As for the album, there is no flow, very few solid songs (maybe 2), and absolutely no urgency to the songs. That being said, Sugarcult will create a truly solid album in the future. Instrumentally the band is very sound and does show glimpses of promise in their songwriting.

ElVaquero (April 13, 2004)

This review is a gramatical failure. Do we need another reviews editor?

slippy (April 13, 2004)

green vandal!

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

about 5 years ago i saw these guys playing a free show at universal city walk, it was before they were signed, i remember thinking they sucked but then they played a ramones song and i thought they still sucked but were cool...if that makes sense, they seem like a legite band who makes bad music

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

The girl on the cover's tits look like small pyramids. :o(

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

The world must be starting to rotate slower when this can get a 4 star review. Did you actually listen to this incredibly vomit worthy garbage, or did you just see the singers cool hair and tie (just like avril!) and base the score on that?

Seriously dude. Go fuck yourself. And anyone else who likes this garbage, help him fuck himself.

-!Greenvandal!

Fuzzy (April 13, 2004)

Awesome true story:
These guys were opening for Reel Big Fish, and I took a girl I had just started dating to the show. While there, I was talking to my ex-gf (best friend) and the current girl got mad and left for a bit. Turns out she was telling the singer of Sugarcult what an asshole I was, and he wrote her a poem about what a bastard I was. It was a really bad poem.
Needless to say, I can actually say I dislike the people in this band and their music for a (fairly) good reason.

adam (April 13, 2004)

To the guy below. There are around 40 reviews waiting to go up on various weeks. Yours will go up based on the week's release schedule... so eventually :)

-adam

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

I submitted one yesterday...guess it was a bit too late to make it on today. Hopefully this Friday?...

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

Where's the Pulley review, dammit?

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

cant bands come up with better names for albums, if i hear one more ____ and _____ im gonna go crazy

gatecrasher (April 13, 2004)

boring

ElVaquero (April 13, 2004)

there are only so many ways to say "barf"

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

I can't tell whether to say "meh" or "bleh."

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

Hey, I wrote the review for punknews.org here. Apparently they have me mixed up with some other Phil when you click on my name. I certainly do not live in Canada. But 10 stars for Canada anyways because they've spawned some of my favorite bands (Our Lady Peace, Matthew Good Band, Finger Eleven, Tea Party, Big Wreck, Gob, etc.)

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

no, you suck

neversosane (April 13, 2004)

I don't really care for this band.

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

The review from the guy below sucks

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

gib did do a mighty job on the artwork here..... can't wait for that EXHAUSTRA cd

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

this band sucks, read the punkrocks.net review of this cd.

Sugarcult Review

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

Hey Adam, did you receive my Pulley review?

hayato_the_ninja (April 13, 2004)

They're not bad at what they do, it's just that it sounds like a hundred other bands...

- Hayato

KirbyPuckett (April 13, 2004)

No one cares what you think Kirby homo.

I don't recall saying that anyone had to care about my opinions?

- Kirby

Jesse (April 13, 2004)

The funniest thing about this band-I heard from one of their roadies that the band even hates the music that they play. They are just tired of themselves.

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

No one cares what you think Kirby homo.

Anyways, good review.

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

i love this album. its much better then 'start static'. not to mention that these guys are incredibly nice.

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

I really like this new album. It's more "rock" oriented and far away from that typical mainstream punk-pop sound, which is quite a relief.

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

this is a bad cd, no ends about it, just bad.

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

First time I saw this band, they got lost on the way to the venue, and since we'd all been kicked out, they set up and played outdoors, in this space between two houses. It was great, they didn't get far along 'cause the cops showed up, but still great.

Second time, yelling "Bitch!" at the photo of Tim's ex-girlfriend was fun, too. Great live band, really brightened my week that time.

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

hahah, i was at that show too kirby. Sugarcult did a special 'acoustic' set, where they all sat down and played their songs w/ slow tempos. everyone just stared. i left. sad. MCS were the shit though, but I don't know about 'the world', it really lacks the charisma that laga had....
-poopypants

KirbyPuckett (April 13, 2004)

I was "fortunate" enough to see these guys live last night.

Good thing I left right after Motion City Soundtrack.

- Kirby

Suge_Knight (April 13, 2004)

They are paving the way for punk rock. Authority figures...look out!

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

this band sucks

Anonymous (April 13, 2004)

gib's artwork is beautiful. all bow to the imokay design group!

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