Premiere: The Sugar Hollows Present Boundless Delight On Their Self-Titled Debut Album
Americana music is built on a restless spirit. Whether it’s jangling around a simple melody or eagerly exploring a vast soundscape, the songs are always on the hunt for something more out of life. Joining that hunt this week is Richmond quartet The Sugar Hollows, a band that faithfully exhibits that roving essence with a sound that extends far past any combination of country and folk rock. Within their music, elements of heartland rock, neo-psychedelic, and even chillwave thrive, progressing the panoramic scope of each song so that it extends far past the horizon and into the heavens. Their self-titled debut record is full of these surging moments, with rich melodies and tender lyrics that help decorate each expansive environment with creative talent and intense emotion. Out this Friday, March 31st on all streaming platforms, it’s an album that The Auricular is delighted to explore today with an exclusive premiere.
This unique blend of modern and classic sub-genres began as a writing collaboration between Sugar Hollows members Michael Dunn (lead vocals, guitar) and Gabriel Spadaccini (multi-instrumentalist). “What you hear is our eclectic musical interests,” Spadaccini described. “When we first started writing some of these tunes a couple of years ago, we were intentionally unintentional about writing songs that fit a specific style, genre, or mold. The writing process was more along the lines of, ‘Hey, this sounds pretty cool, let’s roll with it.'”
Bassist Sean O’Reilly soon joined the group as well as drummer Noah Yates, helping to bolster the band’s sound as well as the vision that was beginning to stretch upwards as much as outwards. The album’s opening song, “Highway Daydream,” precisely captures this aspiration with a twangy, guitar-driven stroll that soon morphs into an ethereal, moody cogitation. This creates a spacious, immersive sound that evokes the distant trek your mind takes while traveling down a steady strip of pavement. The result is a style combining the soulful, introspective qualities of indie rock with the twangy, rootsy charm of roots music, a compound that feels familiar and fresh.
“Each song kind of takes you to a different place and lives in its own world on this album,” Spadaccini continued. “There’s probably something for everyone on this album, whether you like folk and country music, hard rock, jam bands, indie rock, or even funk. We wanted the album to flow in terms of the energy from one song to another, but if you haven’t listened to it before, you don’t really know what you’re gonna get next when a song ends.”
That crafty sequencing unfolds early in the album as the churning “Highway Daydream” reverie turns over into the up-tempo and invigorating track “Time Will Tell.” As the album continues on, love songs (“Sweet Virginia Girl”) are sandwiched between jaunty twirls (“Floatin'”) and shuffling expeditions (“Be Cool”), offering sharp detours on an otherwise straightforward path. Still, each sonic world feels connected, even if the songs were not originally written as part of one unifying message. “We didn’t have a specific goal in mind when writing this album,” stated Spadaccini. “It was kind of whatever felt right at the time for each individual song, and then we decided to put them on an album together. There were some tunes that we worked on for a while that didn’t make the cut and others that came together within just a couple of days that are on there.”
In this sense, the record has no unifying theme, though the music still carries a strong sense of purpose and intention. Each infectious hook, emotive guitar lick, and affecting verse are placed just right to connect with the listener on a visceral level. On “Shenandoah,” the band concocts a smokey landscape of buzzing strings and pacing drums so dense that even the lyrics themselves worry about becoming lost within the haze. For “Follow The River,” the band decorates a flowing strum with redolent tones that glimmer like sunlight off the water, letting you imagine the water below you as you float downstream. Lavish and exhilarating, this attention to detail elevates the band’s vast sound with colorful passion and prudent reason.
Releasing an album as grand and scopic as The Sugar Hollows would be a triumph for any band. To do it as your debut collection of songs? Incredible. These ten songs point to a quartet of musicians who know where they come from musically and where they want to go in harmony. They possess the open heart to explore that path fully and the keen intellect to know when it’s okay to take a detour and maybe find something that can make their travels more memorable and enjoyable. It’s a trip we can’t wait to re-live with the band over and over again on this album that vividly depicts a restless musical heart and gives it the orientation it so desperately craves.
The Sugar Hollows comes out Friday, March 31st on all streaming platforms and you can pre-save the album today via DistroKid (link here).
The Sugar Hollows are celebrating the release of their album the evening of Saturday, April 8th, alongside Mackenzie Roark at Get Tight Lounge. Tickets are $10 in advance / $14 the day of the show with doors opening 7:30 PM. Check out the show flyer below.