Sound — 9
The first track on Sugar Glyder's second full-length is called "The Kicker," but it's during the second song "Handshake Foes" that the Charlotte, NC four-piece's epic rock really kicks in. Their newest album "Poor Baby Zebra," sounds like a shoving match between the Killers, Arcade Fire, and Explosions in the Sky. In fact, Exlposion's tone and wall of post-rock guitar style, group backing vocals and Daniel Howie's passionate vocals (reminiscent of Muse's Matthew Bellamy) color the 12 tracks. Like Muse, Sugar Glyder isn't afriad to break away from the tortured grandeur amd have a little fun. The title track ends the album with a shredding guitar intro and rides a disco bassline worthy of a Franz Ferdinand single. Production-wise, "Poor Baby Zebra" doesn't sound like a typical self-release since it benefits from the co-production of Scapegoat's Kit Walters.
Lyrics — 8
Howie sings with the vein-opening emotion that made emo hot, but without any of the hardcore trappings. The vocals are textured with effects and reverb, enough on some tracks to make even Jim James of My Morning Jacket proud. The lyrics are strong, vivid and paint good mental images. The third song "Blackbeard Has Feelings Too," is a good example of this.
Overall Impression — 9
"Poor Baby Zebra" is Sugar Glyder's second full length album. They released "We Cracked the Sky" in 2008 and released a 6 song EP ("The Unsaid and the Obvious") in 2006. Its clear that they are progessing with their music. Their non-stop touring schedule over the last year and a half and playing with bands such as Silversun Pickups, Manchester Orchestra, and Dear and the Headlights has probably had a positive effect on their writing ability and they seem poised to make the jump from an indepedant band into the major label spotlight.