Brontez Purnell’s restless creative energy leads him to vigorously pursue film, dance, and performance art in addition to creating ramshackle pop songs. Sugar in My Pocket, Purnell’s third full-length as The Younger Lovers, channels his mercurial artistic temperament into twelve songs that clock in at about twenty minutes. The brevity and basic instrumentation lend the album urgency, while Purnell’s vocal style distinguishes The Younger Lovers from other bands. Yet those same qualities also make Sugar in My Pocket feel somewhat incomplete.
The album sets Purnell’s up-tempo drumbeats and bubblegum guitar-chord progressions to frank accounts of relationship tragicomedies that buzz by in concise bursts. Purnell’s vocal melodies adhere fairly loosely to the songs’ key signatures, and he tends to run successive lines into one another. The vocals certainly cause split opinions on Purnell’s music, but beyond the loose singing style lies plenty of charming idiosyncrasies: grim-but-humorous lyrics and nuanced, rhythmic interplay between his drumming and singing.
Sugar in My Pocket contains as many lyrics and musical ideas as albums twice its length. Opener “Get Up, Get Up” is a hyperactive tune about waking up with anxiety and the gnawing urge to accomplish more, faster. The sentiment sums up Sugar in My Pocket‘s shortcomings: With so many projects, Purnell isn’t able to give this album the attention it needs. (Southpaw)