David E Sugar ‘Memory Store’

David E Sugar / ‘Memory Store’

CD / MP3

Sunday Best / Released November 22nd 2010

We know what you’re thinking. Urbane guy, making songs from the underground that marry various genres, with a bedroom production ethic. OK, so there are plenty of similarities to be drawn with Mike Skinner, but stay with us.

In a world now rightly sceptical about The Streets’ contemporary work, this kind of modern-day, Lahndan pop poetry often comes up against extreme prejudice. True, much in this micro-genre has erred on the wrong side of repetition, and offered little you could describe as original material for some time. But here it’s really unfortunate affliction, as this LP is pretty good.

Sugar’s vocal range, while still firmly rooted in the laddish world of predominantly spoken song, surpasses anything The Streets’ offered in the sweetest of moments. And the overall vibe is wholly different too. Whereas one had ska, hip-hop and grime coursing through his veins, here we have a young man more concerned with funk, disco and electro-indie. So it’s hardly surprising he’s been touring with the likes of Digitalism, Hadouken, Calvin Harris and Fenech Soler.

So, a sort of British Matthew Dear then? Well, not really. Tracks like Cambridge Sums offer a basic four-chord organ foundation that could be compared to the Ghostly International man. But there’s an overwhelmingly greater reliance on guitars, and contemporary indie song structures throughout Memory Store, not least on the softly spoken Did You Ever Have a Good Idea. A swaggering verse nonchalantly opens out into a sprawling chorus that’s not a world away from the e-barber’s shop quartet of Hot Chip, before we’re snapped back from the dreamlike sequence by a more ruthless sounding lyrical delivery.

Track of the album would have to be the single Flea Market, which boasts just about enough of everything people want to buy at the moment, meaning a no-show in the charts would be astounding. It’s at this point that the formula so frequently called upon throughout this 12 tracker is executed to the greatest effect too. No other example gets the plucked melody so right, nor do the vocals feel as emotive elsewhere. That said, if experimentation is more your kind of thing, then cut to the chase with Although You May Laugh, a hybrid, bass-fuelled personality shifter that’s part of the reason why we’re destined to hear more from Mr Sugar.